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Geisha

Pinning her hair with one hand, hiding her face with the other, the Japanese Geisha is the quintessence of femininity as men enjoy picturing it - demure, obedient, above all beautiful. With a start we are aware that this particular geisha is painted on an old piece of corrugated iron, distorted shapes resemble a robe, an arm, a fan - shapes the artist has highlighted to prove an obdurate material capable of previously unsuspected delicacy. Yet with a second flourish the trick is undermined; at her feet is a bag of clay, another building material waiting to be used. It is a study in extremes - the finish of the new, glossy paint transfiguring the fragment of scrap metal, feminine undulations countering masculine hardness, a disturbing play between two and three dimensions, the exotic and the everyday, between erotic invitation and unmannerly rebuttal.*


...the material is concerned with the concrete expression of the idea's material foundation. Thus for the 'women series' Blacker used corrugated metal sheeting which had already been crumpled. In its deformed condition it paralleled a deformation which was taking place in patriarchical ideology, that is, the use of figures of women to represent or embody abstract ideas, an action which worked to the detriment of establishing a positive and holistic female imagery in the central tradition of Western art. Thus, while on occasion she uses traditional symbology, Blacker also reveals its negativity and decrepitude.

Ursula Szulakowska Artefactum April 1990

* Stuart Morgan Base and Summit 1983