Painter Sarah Rupp uses her art as a way of commenting (and criticizing) society’s ideas about beauty, public appearance, and perception. “I create art in order to explore not only my own fascinations, but to challenge the artistic language of both my body of work and a larger one: the various ways that women are portrayed in popular culture, fashion, advertising, & even historically,” she told Art of Choice.
As such, her work addresses trends associated with ideas of female beauty, as well as celebrates the female form in all its diversity. Centered around fashionable representations of women, her portraits are intentionally exaggerated – with her women subjects looking a bit “off”.
Rupp’s use of oil paint allows her to thoroughly blend and layer the paint to achieve the effect she wants out of her work. Her smooth and delicate application of paint is juxtaposed with a bright, dramatic color palette, creating an exciting interplay of shadow and light that both draws attention to her subjects and maintains their enigmatic aura. In this way, she hopes the viewer can feel the physical and psychological tension between beauty and strangeness in the work without being limited to a single interpretation. “I’m creating a bend on a timeless subject matter, the female form, and also celebrating it,” says Rupp.
Her process begins by collecting images from fashion magazines and the internet, then distorting the photographic source in a way that gives her subjects a new or heightened identity. The result is playful but also – thought-provoking. Take a look for yourself: