Wednesday, December 2, 2009

PassionFlowers and FairyTales

Zeb Shine is a woman who birthed babies at the same time I did, living a life packed with art and drama. For a few years now I've blown into the city and finally, her kitchen, for a precious catchup, staying up all night to drink copious cups of tea and imbibe other nefarious substances, while we indulge in unpacking the last six months.

She keeps producing these little zip lock plastic bags, bag after bag. Lips. Yes, lips. Several hundred thousand lips, laboriously scalpelled from from paper ladies, the Revlon models. Everytime I visit, her collection has grown. On my last trip to Freo, Zeb was in production mode. "It's terrifying," she told me, "getting them glued down. I have to get it right the first time; no second chances with glue, or positioning. It's one move and that's it. A thousand times over."

This is an artist who spends zilch time on Photoshop and an inordinate amount taking a scalpel to women's glossies. Subversive, yes, but not in its obvious context.

From the lips of the Revlon women, velveteen splatters of wine advertisements and the carnivorous smiles of superstars, the PassionFlowers emerge. The PassionFlowers bare their teeth and reveal their luscious inner folds in one full blown, fleshy bloom.

Producing the one flower meant replicating the same set of lips. It takes a certain kind of obsession to scour the city for that particular 1999 edition of Marie Claire.

Zeb Shine's FairyTales are another thing altogether. Again, each image is a collage of thousands of glossy magazine snippets. The FairyTales give us the story of Woman in all her incarnations. Little Red enters the mossy depths of deep forest, aware all the while of the coal-eyed wolf watching her from a house. Danger here lurks inside the domestic sphere and nature is the refuge. Wendy steps away from her Lost/Bad Boys and moves on, into her own mature sense of self. Rapunzel's mane is her thorny prison but at her feet there is a locked door - and a key.

Step in and look around, via the link to Zeb's website, A Curious Nature. Please bear in mind the site is still under construction! I will leave a permanent link in Phosphorescence, under the Moon. I think we will hear and see a lot more of Zeb Shine and her Curious Nature.

PassionFlower © Zeb Shine.


  1. Amazing stuff. I think I may direct my students there so they can see Zeb's excellent use of collage.

  2. Yes, it's an intense process. I think her work is just awesome.