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Artwork of the Week

Artwork of the Week: Bride and Her Mirror Image

Bride and Her Mirror Image
Muriel Magenta, 'Bride and Her Mirror Image,' c.1985, 20 x 15 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, gift of Wayne Kimball, 2010.

Muriel Magenta is a New Genre artist who works with installation, multimedia performance, video, and sculpture. Using an array of technologies and tools to create hybrid works, Magenta explores the interaction of media and audience. Bride and Her Mirror Image is a film still from a project filmed in the desert of Carefree, Arizona. The video from which this still originates synthesizes contemporary and historical bridal imagery. In this video work, Magenta constructs a narrative that is both familiar and disconcerting through a sequence of juxtaposed video clips, depicting things like slippered feet, a bride tossing a box of chocolates like a bouquet, or a towering wedding cake.

This film still captures the moment in the video when a sense of unease intensifies as the bridal figure dons heavy gloves and a wrinkled mask. Situated on a nondescript brown background against a pale blue sky, a woman in white is accompanied solely by her duplicate as they emerge from each other from the center of the image in symmetrical layers. The most disconcerting part of this image is how the mask covers the figure’s face in a closed smile. With nothing more than subdued eyes showing through, the mask becomes a second veil blocking the brides' emotions and identity. She avoids the gaze of the viewer, preferring to grasp the gloved hand of her duplicate image as she tucks her silvery hair back behind the edge of the mask. The audience is invited into a disconcerting narrative where familiar imagery crosses into the unsettling.

With this haunting portrayal, Magenta subverts the familiar iconography associated with weddings to create an uncomfortable space that challenges the viewer's perception of traditional matrimony.

Credit: Curatorial Fellow, Anne Flynn

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