Awareness #1 - Janine Antoni

Janine Antoni (born January 19, 1964) is a contemporary artist who works in the mediums of sculpture, photography, and performance art. She often combines and stretches the mediums in which she works to new and strange levels. Antoni was born in the Bahamas, but is currently based in New York. She received a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design. Antoni has also received many prestigious awards such as the John D and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship in 1998 and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Award in 2011. Antoni is represented by Luhring Augustine Gallery in New York and Anthony Meier Fine Arts in San Francisco.

Lick and Lather , 1993, seven licked chocolate self-portrait busts and seven washed soap self-portrait busts on fourteen pedestals, image via  artist’s website

Lick and Lather, 1993, seven licked chocolate self-portrait busts and seven washed soap self-portrait busts on fourteen pedestals, image via artist’s website

Mom and Dad,  1994, mother, father, makeup, cibachrome triptych, and artist's frames, image via  artist’s website

Mom and Dad, 1994, mother, father, makeup, cibachrome triptych, and artist's frames, image via artist’s website

I am really drawn to Antoni’s style and her use of materials. She takes things that one would not usually find, or expect to find, at a traditional art store and makes fine art with them. To me, this feels pretty radical. This is something which I hope to allow myself to do with my work as well: escape the traditional boundaries of the four sided canvas or paper and still make valid and interesting art. Particularly, I enjoy her earlier work. I love the way in which Antoni plays around with gender roles in her piece Mom and Dad as well as the initial confusion that it strikes in the mind of the viewer. In terms of Lick and Lather, the way in which she calls into question classical beauty standards through the use of soap and chocolate busts cast in her own form totally blew my mind. In reading an interview with Antoni concerning the piece on Art21, I found it interesting how she described part of this project as trying to have a relationship with her own image. I also really like how she takes a strong focus on the process of making her pieces. This is something which I would like to carry into my own work.

Links:

Luhring Augustine Gallery

Anthony Meier Fine Arts

Janine Antoni’s Personal Website

Discussing Lick and Lather with Art21