Muse is an ongoing collaborative project between artists James Kinser and Niki Grangruth. This body of work explores issues of non-conforming gender identity, questions notions of feminine beauty ideals and challenges the tradition of the artist-muse relationship.
This series re-imagines and re-interprets well-known art historical paintings of female subjects by master painters. Our intention is to adhere to the visual aesthetics of the original works and retain the "aura" of the painting, while reinventing the concept through the use of the male subject, posing, the gaze and costuming to discrupt the socially-constructed male/female binary and draw attention to the performative nature of gender identity.
Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (after Klimt), 2017
Becoming Pearl, 2015 (selected images)
A community engagement project created as part of a residency through the Department of Exhibition and Performanace Spaces at Columbia College Chicago.
WORK IN PROGRESS (2014-Present)
In this new body of work, I am working with the recontextualization of objects and materials to explore issues of femininity, the female body, and constructs of gender. I am interested in the artifice and illusion of beauty and femininity that we assign to objects.
Face Mask I (2014)
Pearl, Gold & Ruby (2014)
THE NEW MADONNAS (2007-2009)
This body of work explores the complex relationships between mothers and their children. These relationships are based on a series of emotional and physical juxtapositions -- simultaneous connection and separation, intimacy and disengagement, reliance and independence, idealization and reality. I photograph middle-class, American families in an examination of the tension between a historically-constructed maternal ideal and the social reality of contemporary motherhood. I draw inspiration from traditional representations of the mother and child, specifically the Madonna and Child imagery.
I use the home as a stage for domestic melodrama, constructing scenes that combine fictitious allegory and metaphor, historical maternal iconography, and observed events within the home. In combining traditional ideals and contemporary realities, I investigate the prevasiveness of maternal idealization, and the complexities and anxieties it creates for contemporary mothers.