Create Catering and The Dining Studio is happy to exhibit the work of Jesse Petersen through October 2019.jessematthewpetersen.com
This series of digital and paper collages (begun in 2010) takes fashion photography and reconfigures it into something alien. I’m interested in how high fashion objectifies and eroticizes the human body and in how fashion photography (as art or as advertising) amplifies that erotic ideal, much as traditional portraiture has done throughout the centuries, in the absence of recognizable body parts. I assemble small collages from a personal archive of carefully-excised cuttings from fashion magazines, re-photograph or scan them, and manipulate them digitally into something closer to a sculptural curiosity. The resulting images read as both organic objects and abstract portraiture; the subtraction of the human body allows the source material to take other shapes, evoking unknown life forms. Despite the absence of flesh, they retain echoes of the human form, demanding to be seen as portraits. Set against blank backgrounds, they’re offered both as specimens collected for scientific scrutiny and as objects of devotion. By extracting the human figure from haute couture, these collages ask whether our attraction to fashion is to the body itself, a manipulative erotic ideal, or merely to the evocative materials and veneer of luxury used to sell a product. They are also as much about a deep fascination with the natural world as they are about blurring the masculine and feminine, luxury, commerce, and desire.