Nora Kimball Mulheren Sands
To crush: to squeeze or force by pressure so as to alter or destroy structure, to hug or embrace, to suppress or overwhelm as if by pressure or weight, the quantity of material crushed, an intense and usually passing infatuation.

Fashion plays a role in society; it allows us to present a specific image to others. However, appearances may be deceptive. The impossible image of perfection that is portrayed in fashion advertisements has led me to crush them, just as they distort the self-perception of those who view them. These advertisements reveal much about the fashion industry, society, and ultimately ourselves. They show what we value, the importance of how we are perceived, and the disposable character of the objects that satisfy these desires. I literally alter these advertisements into new shapes and create imperfections in “perfect” images that I use as references for my paintings. I am able to use the merchandise being presented in these ads while only paying the cover price for the magazine.

Within my critique of these source images, I have found an appreciation for the high level of craftsmanship and brilliant use of formal elements. Design is the interface between industry, production, and consumer life. Consequently, reproduction and representation is a subject of my work. While depicting crumpled paper on fragile material (paper), the acrylic and gouache paint itself is as artificial as the image portrayed in the advertisements. The flatness and opaque qualities allow for a superficial façade where it is nearly impossible to look beyond the surface of my paintings.

Although, today’s fashion is discarded tomorrow, ideally artwork won’t be discarded and the price of a painting may outweigh the product value. The ads tell us that luxury items are deemed as necessities and many manufacturers reintroduce the old with a packaging face-lift. When I crumple these advertisements, one does not need to know the details of the original advertisement to be able to identify which ad is being manipulated. In painting the ads from the sub-sequential issues, the same designer’s products and any changes in the ad campaign are reflected in my work.