Art that is ‘seductive’ is often spoken about like it’s a bad thing. In the hands of these three artists, however, the notion of seduction need not simply be an easy way to engage an audience, it can also include highly critical analytical explorations of the ways that desire and seduction might work together in framing encounters with art.
Christopher Twiney has questioned the seductive nature of advertising, undermining its messages and revealing the political and social contexts in which it works. In Art of Seduction he uses high-end fashion brands as the faux marketing tools for daggy Australian country towns, with his out of context use of labels—applied through photographs, prints and appropriate ‘merchandise’—drawing attention to what he sees as Australia’s ‘widening economic gap.’
A process of transformation is also evident in Samuel Townsend’s subtly reconstructed family photographs. Using images from his late grandfather’s album his works ultimately stand as self-portrait, with the snapshots providing the ironic basis for an aesthetic contextual shift encompassing the rise of queer sexuality since the 1970s and seducing the viewer with memories of carefree days in the company of friends.
Natalie Randall moves beyond seduction and straight to the end game for Light Climax (2013), a video that essentially visualizes an orgasm in the language of light and movement. Light Climax also references what Randall calls the ‘invisibility of the female orgasm,’ shedding light on a physical manifestation of desire as if it were at once both a material and metaphysical experience.
Adapted from catalogue essay by David Broker.
Samuel Townsend, Bro’s, 2014, print on Arches Velin Museum Rag, edition of 5, 37cm x 26cm