Upon cursory first glance, Genesis Belanger’s artwork appears dreamy, almost innocent. But the sculptures are far from it. Sure, she tints the porcelain and stoneware pieces, often in the shape of everyday objects, in pleasing matte pastels. And they’re meticulously crafted in simple silhouettes inspired by Claymation. But their messaging is quite complex, often stemming from her background as a prop stylist for such ad campaigns as Chanel and Victoria’s Secret. “It’s fascinating that our desires can be manipulated through aesthetics,” she has said. Well-manicured fingernails and lipstick-smeared cigarettes are among the feminine scenes she typically depicts. But for an art-fair booth installation last year, she imagined a man’s bathroom, overflowing toothpaste tube and all. Come this fall, visitors to the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum may see a shift in her artistic tone. “Genesis Belanger: Through the Eye of the Needle,” her first solo exhibition at a major U.S. institution, will feature dozens of brand-new sculptures arranged on ghostly furnishings shrouded in gray upholstered skirts. “There will be a perceptible funerary tone,” senior curator Amy Smith-Stewart says, “that may be symptomatic of gloomy times.”
Genesis Belanger's Claymation-Inspired Artwork on Display
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