Opening reception: Saturday, September 6, 6-8PM
Von Lintel Gallery is pleased to present Henbane for Honey Bun, an exhibition of new photographs by Melanie Willhide and the artist’s second solo show with the gallery.
Henbane is a flowering nightshade known for its ability to induce dramatic hallucinations and has potentially lethal consequences if consumed in large amounts. Willhide’s digitally collaged photographs borrow the visual language of the hallucination to combine portraits of women with still life images of fake flowers.
Willhide’s female subjects are clearly made in the contemporary moment but incite memories of classic tropes celebrating youth, beauty and desire: the playboy bunny, the fashionable waif and the pre-Raphaelite
damsel. Despite these references, Willhide's girls are different. They are uninterested in the viewer's gaze, they have power and their images are un-tethered from fixed definitions.
In contrast, the fake flower is a fixed subject at the peak of its beauty. It has no birth, does not decay, nor does it die. The image of the flower has long been associated with the notion that both life and beauty are short-lived. Building on this historical notion, Willhide adopts the fake flower as a symbol of the nonsensical expectation of image culture.
Fake flowers and photographs can be absurd proxies for the real thing yet Willhide reconfigures them in such a way that their qualities become deeply psychological, symbolic and perhaps even supernatural.
Born in Connecticut in 1975, Willhide has an MFA in Photography from Yale University School of Art and a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design. She has exhibited throughout the United States for nearly two
decades. Her work has been reviewed and featured in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Blind Spot, Art in America and Modern Painters. Willhide lives and works in Los Angeles.
For additional information or visual material, please contact the gallery at (310) 559-5700 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.