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Chrystal Clements: American Beauty Made for Me 2000
American Beauty Made for Me 2000
In American Beauty, Clements has used foundation make-up as a medium to highlight the issue of colour awareness as it exists in standard beauty culture. The work ...is composed of twelve pencil tracings of a generic face. Each face has rubbed onto it a different shade of make-up, identified beneath as ‘classic ivory’, ‘medium light’, ‘soft honey’, and so on.
The images are arranged in a grid. The systematic composition confronts the viewer with the extremely limited diversity available within a uniform standard of female beauty. Ironically, the foundation smudged over the light cream paper looks starkly unnatural...By making an issue of whiteness as a skin colour norm, Clements’ drawing evokes its invisible, unspoken opposite—blackness. (Ingrid Jenkner and Sigrid Mahr, exhibition catalogue, too small too big, 2004)
Clements’ work is directly connected to her upbringing in Gibson Woods, a rural black community outside Kentville, Nova Scotia. She received her BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1995. She also studied at the Canberra Institute of the Arts in Australia. American Beauty Made for Me appeared in the group exhibition Sister Visions III Through Our Eyes at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (2000).
KB and MT