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Elissa Levy
Brooklyn, NY
Neighborhood: Gowanus



ARTIST STATEMENT: Taking imagery from newspapers and magazines, I deconstruct the ubiquitous male icons -- soldiers, athletes, celebrities and politicians -- that populate the printed media. When their forms are isolated, they become stripped of identifiable cues of power or fame, and reduced to ghost-like apparitions. Yet still, they retain their posture of authority. Here, soldiers and politicians evoke the two-pronged waging of war from the metaphorical halls of power and the trenches, each isolated from the realities of the other. Athletes and celebrities invoke social hierarchies in which entertainers are cultural idols, and sports matches provide endless dramatizations of heroized men gearing up and going into battle. The newspaper is a found object that I can edit and transform with cuts, tears and color, changing contemporary artifacts into raw and makeshift future relics. The re-imagined and reworked figures are animated in pen and paint with concentric lines of fluorescent colors, to look like renderings of auras or infrared photography, as if providing a glimpse into their core. I approach this work with a punk DIY ethos; using craft and everyday materials, I alter not only the shape, but the context. While aggressively eradicating these figures in their current mass-reproduced form, I am changing them into otherworldly silhouettes that distract from their socially constructed masculinity and allow us to see the whole of them.
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