Invites: Rebecca Parkin

Invites: Rebecca Parkin
Rebecca Parkin, Pickle Pie (crop), 2018. Pastel on paper. Digital Photograph, Courtesy the artist
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Zabludowicz Collection is pleased to present an Invites exhibition by London-based painter Rebecca Parkin. Responding to genres of fan art, horror films, and cosplay, Parkin uses traditional methods of pop culture illustration to interpret the changing landscape of fantasy, gender and sexuality.

Building from her ongoing Green Women series, Parkin recreates depictions of women – seen throughout art history, film and popular culture – as possessed, witch-like beings. Often overly sexualised, her series of pastel and pigment portraits takes on the eroticised trope of the demonic femme. Steeped in the camp visual language of horror B movie posters, the artist represents her characters not as monsters or villains, but as agents with their own will.

Shown together for the first time, the works have a collective, ritualistic and mystical presence. They draw inspiration and staging from films such as Suspiria (1977) or La Papesse (1975), and their connection to satanic ritual and the divine feminine collective is palpable. Parkin counters the male gaze often bestowed on the characters she parodies through familiar and accessible visual techniques to present her cult of women as sincere, authentic and powerful.

By referencing the overly stylised ‘witchploitation’ films of the early 1970s, the installation employs a set-like feel through illuminated windows, chiffon draping and dramatic lighting. Cinematic props and green face paint materialise as a sculptural still life paying homage to the seventeenth-century genre of Dutch portraiture. A behind-the-scenes shrine to Parkin’s process and inspirations, the arrangement includes symbolic objects of wealth and luxury: a lobster, oysters, candles, a beer stein.

The installation elements are built on the textural quality of puppets, prosthetics and pyrotechnics from this distinct period of horror and sci-fi cinema and set-making. A playful conflation of the different worlds that drive the artist’s practice, the installation elements critique the eerie, absurdist and exploitative representation of women across popular culture that, even in the wake of evolved gender politics, continues to be recycled.

Rebecca Parkin (b. 1973, Sheffield, England) received an MA in painting from Royal College of Art, London in 2009. The artist attended the 2020-2021 Turps Off Site painting programme and was selected for the 2009 and 2021 Bloomberg New Contemporaries. Recent exhibitions include The Blue, The Pink, The Immaterial, The Void, Austrian Cultural Forum, London (2022); Once Upon a Time, 23-25 Chiltern Street, London (2022); Electric, Art Car Boot Fair, London (2022); Blink, Safe House 1, London, (2022).