‘Show me a hero, and I’ll write you a tragedy’, once quipped writer F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Celebrating the tragic and the heroic is exhibition opening next week The Beautiful and the Damned. Deriving its title from the Fitzgerald novel of the same name, Pam Glew’s stunning show depicts the glamorously flawed and decadently disastrous stars and starlets of the roaring twenties.
Her subjects are united in their feted status and scandalous lifestyles; often falling from grace into darkness and destitution – from the bleak suicide of Peg Entwistle, who jumped to her death off the H of the Hollywood sign; to the star Lupe Velez who famously drowned in her toilet; to the death of Carole Lombard in a plane crash.
Glew says, ‘the tragedy amongst the beauty is what has inspired this show, the sharp contrast between a blessed life and one that ends in scandal, hedonism or destitution.’
The artist’s practice sees her creating the hauntingly beautiful portraits from vintage 1920s fabrics. Each piece is deconstructed, dyed, and repeatedly bleached until a portrait emerges from the cloth, creating an image that emerges spectre-like from the cloth; at once reflecting the subjects’ enduring resonance and their vulnerably.
The Beautiful and The Damned runs from 25-29 May at Mauger Modern Art, Blackall Studios, 73 Leonard Street, London EC2A