Retail survives on lies and deception. This is no more apparent than with the cosmeceutical industry. Anti-ageing creams and moisturisers are mostly not effective and their pseudo scientific ingredients such as “phyto-complex of boswellia extract with manganese” and “3-D insta-firm complex with bioactive peptides” dazzle and intrigue us. Our lineal facial micro-contractions (frowning) are caused by our wonder at such terminologies and ‘angel dust’ marketing techniques cause us to spend.

During my research into the make-up industry I came across the story of the ‘Radium Girls’ in the 1920s who were employed to paint the tiny glow in the dark numbers onto the latest must have wrist watches. They were told the only side effect of the radium paint would be rosy cheeks. So, unaware of its true radioactive nature, they would point their brushes with their lips and paint their faces and nails with the deadly substance to wow their family and friends. With delicate honey combed jawbones and cancerous sores they all died.

Five of these women gained notoriety for their efforts in challenging their employer in court and thereby bringing about regulations governing labor safety standards.

The art work is titled ‘deception’. Painted in ill-colours with a tele-shopping soundtrack, it is a mash-up of the cosmetic industry pseudo science of today and the tragic consequences of the untruths of yester-year. The five pieces are separately named after and dedicated to these five women: Grace, Edna, Albina, Quinta and Katherine.

5 x acrylic, painted & screenprinted, glow-in-the-dark paint on canvas. mannequins hand with glow-in-the-dark painted nails and a video performance piece available to view on You Tube

'Art and rampant shopping' article Manchester Evening News

In the Bag - Exhibition 2008 - Sale Waterside Arts Centre



© Jamie Summers 2015