Linsey Gosper
Black Widow
cardboard, velvet, lights, video tape, photographic prints
Vitrine: installation view © 2009

Black Widow
is an exhibition of photographic self-portraits of female cinematic personas portraying multiple identities. The conceptual link between my research and studio work is based on one of the most important contributions feminist film theory has made to the larger field of feminist inquiry, that the image of woman is a ‘construction’.

The focus is the femme fatale, as an alternative feminine persona that is contradictory, fluid and liberating. She is the object of desire and a vehicle for feminist empowerment. Her role, particularly in the context of film noir, establishes her as the antithesis to other feminine stereotypes, yet she is an image of ultra femininity. This portrayal of femininity may be a masquerade, veiling her more masculine qualities of explicit sexuality, violence and assertiveness. Her independence and lack of interest in men often present her as a self-absorbed narcissist. Narcissism is linked in the popular imagination with femineity and lesbianism. I propose imagining a female Narcissus: ‘a woman whose belief in her own self-cultivation might result in significant cultural production.’*

The artworks will be super flat, life size, and freestanding cut outs – similar to cinema or video display posters, and reinforced by the shopfront aesthetic of the Vitrine. The audience can visibly see their construction and limited depth.

* Don’t Kiss Me: The Art of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore, Tate Publishing, London, Jersey heritage Trust, 2006, p. 37.

Linsey Gosper completed a Bachelor of Fine Art (Honours) from The University of Newcastle while working as a photographic demonstrator for the School of Fine Art. She exhibited extensively during this time in Newcastle, Sydney, the Gold Coast and Perth. Gosper was the recipient of the Jennie Thomas Travelling Scholarship from The University of Newcastle and winner of the Newcastle Art Space Emerging Artist of the Year. Images from her Honours exhibition Bad Taste were published on the covers of Real Time and Jet, and she was commissioned to produce a body of work for the exhibition Autofetish: Mechanics of Desire, at the Newcastle Region Art Gallery in 2004. Gosper was a recipient of the Australian Postgraduate Award from The University of Melbourne and completed her Master of Fine Art at VCA in 2008. She has recently held shows Trocadero Art Space and Kings ARI.