“This is what normal women look like close up… and I think it’s rather beautiful,” states Brighton based artist Jamie McCartney referring to his latest project, The Great Wall of Vagina; an integral feature of his current exhibition Skin Deep.
As the name may suggest, the artwork in question is a nine metre-long panelled display consisting of 400 plaster casts of female genitalia; each of them unique. After taking moulds from a variety of different women aged between 18 and 79 years old, McCartney’s primary aim was to highlight the diversity of the intimate female form, inviting the viewer to embrace and celebrate its beauty whilst abolishing any previous insular and unrealistic views on ‘normal’.
Skin Deep also presents the world premier of Jamie’s physical photography series; a collection of full body portraits that depicts his female subjects in their natural state through high definition scanning of the flesh. Similar to the wall, the photographs continue to challenge society’s limited and impossible ideals on beauty through the artist’s decision to reject the image-manipulation and retouching process.
The work featured here is not seen as erotic art nor is it in anyway pornographic; it’s a visual education that just so happens to be titillating and intriguing.
Skin Deep is on now until 2nd June 2012 at the Hay Hill Gallery, Cork Street, London.
Words: Sarah Barlow