Alessandra Maria, based in Brooklyn, New York has harnessed the dynamism of religious symbols to craft her new series, “The Virgin, The Whore, and the Mother”. “Iconography can tell a story- it’s subtle power shapes us,” she says. Though her art is contemporary, there is a deliberate attempt to make each piece feel like an “artifact” or a sacred object. Her glimmering muses are a modern feminist idol, Maria’s definition of feminine divinity in the face of objectification and dehumanization. “Throughout history icons have served to illustrate the predominant ideals of a given social group. In Abrahamic religions, feminine power has been embodied in three forms with few exceptions: the virgin, the whore, and the mother. Put another way: women's most virtuous roles were defined insofar as their being an object or vessel for someone else.”
driven by the prevalence of these outmoded concepts of feminine potential in contemporary society. The narratives of women in popular culture are still crafted around demonizing and dehumanizing ideas of what women can or should be. I believe an important means of addressing this problem entails going back to the source Numbered as a means of guiding the viewer's journey, this body of work is an exploration of Eden without the traditional trichotomy and tells the story of the artist coming to terms with her whole being. Seen both as a whole and individually, these works are intended to be meditated upon and drawn from, as a source of strength.”
Alexandra Maria Peters, aka Alessandra Maria, is a Brooklyn-based artist whose inspiring naturalistic works are made with graphite and carbon pencil, gold leaf, and black ink. In addition to these traditional materials, she has an unconventional surface that she works on – coffee stained paper. The dark brown ground, mixed with the gray pencil, adds a soft touch to her realistic-looking figures. Working within these media, her art has tended towards a poignant reinterpretation of feminine iconography, often contextualized and adorned with natural elements like flowers and butterflies, drawn in a style that often conjures fairy tales and other fantastical stories. Here, beauty is a facade for a deeper, potentially darker meaning: “The work has several feminist themes within it– essentially I’m re-working icons from a different era, in a manner that feels like it’s still my own. I definitely try to keep the aesthetic a little bit modern so as to not feel directly lifted from the Renaissance era. I want it to feel contemporary in and of itself, but there definitely is an attempt to make it feel like an artifact— something that has age or which might be a sacred object. That’s deliberate; there’s something very interesting about that.”
St. Louis, Missouri based artist Lauren Marx explores the intricate process of decay with her surreal and often grotesque drawings and paintings. Animals become enmeshed in each other’s flesh as tendons and sinew rip apart, exposing their innards. While the subject matter often triggers an initial reaction of repulsion, Marx’s ornate line work and graceful compositions are pleasing to the eye. “Animals always have been, and always will be, my passion. They have been the subjects of my drawings ever since I was a child. I blame it on weekends spent at the Saint Louis Zoo and endless hours watching “National Geographic’s: Mutual of Omaha: Wild Kingdom”. They influenced my desire to learn about biology while attending high school. While in high school, I began collecting bones, feathers, and books. Over these past few years, my passion grew to zoology, cosmology, and mythology. In the spring of 2012, I finally combined my obsessions into one drawing: “Galactic Collision”. The theme surrounding that piece has been the focus of my work ever since.