Melanie Brown    


Grrls: Roller Derby series

Artist Statement

 I am continuously drawn towards vertiginous states of being... shifting slopes between what is strangely unnatural and seemingly real.
 In my previous works the figure was cast in an antiquated cheerleading costume, the uneasy fit of supporting role, jostling to find a place in the light. In my new work, the subject has entered the bright lights in the rink of local Flat Track Roller Derby women, where rotation is competitive and autonomy is central. No longer is physical exertion a threat to virtue, ‘falling’ is fun, bruising a badge of honour.

My interest lies in the notion of the body is a force, energy and a choice! Although female posturing is second to athleticism in this DIY R.D. league, parody is resisted or flagrantly mocked and prescribed gender is disrupted and repositioned. Reality is altered, identities are a pastiche of constructions, as persona’s are drawn from mass media or tapped from the undercurrent of subcultures.
In these paintings the fatale femme is portrayed larger than life. She manoeuvres within the frame, jostling for space, compacted or breaking forward. At times she hovers or butts uncomfortably close to the edge and at other times she is decisively central in position, holding ground. The paint surface is highly rendered, flesh exposed, vulnerable, other surfaces, less focused and collapsing, or raw, barely grazed. The background is void, reflecting the unseen as the figure flirts with gravity, unleashed… at times floating.

These works are presented as a ways of experiencing the body, calling up notions of self, self-creation and multiple femininities. There is a sense of the uncanny as convention is flaunted and representation rides the boundaries of gender, with connotations of beauty, fearlessness, risk and assertion.

Proxemic | Roller Grrls | Rah Rah | Vertigo of Being