Phebe Schmidt

Lamington Drive is pleased to present Sweethearts — a solo exhibition of large-scale portraits by Phebe Schmidt. Sweethearts plays with identity construction by exploring exaggerated fictional representations of women navigating the public/private divide in the era of individualism.

Art Exhibition previously on at Lamington Drive in Victoria, Australia.
From Wednesday 13 July 2016 to Tuesday 16 August 2016
Launch Wednesday 13 July 2016, 6-9pm

'Valley of Illusion' image

Published by Lamington Drive on Friday 23 September 2016.
Contact the publisher.

Schmidt draws on characters from softcore porn, namely ‘Sweethearts’ (1986) and more broadly the archetypal heroine found in a Mills and Boon romance, who ensures the reader is “able to relate to her, laugh with her, cry with her – as it’s through her that we fall in love with the hero.”1

Sweethearts examines common conceptions of beauty, gender and ageing as well as self-love and self-care. Each vignette reveals alternative, transgressive and aspirational portrayals of subjectivity. Schmidt’s characters perform for an anonymous multiplicitous audience rather than one (male) hero character. Travel the world with Sweethearts without leaving your armchair.

Phebe Schmidt is a Melbourne-based photographer who creates hyperreal images, often portraits, which are tightly constructed but essentially ambiguous. Her work has a stylised plasticity and bright surface that acts as a mask that plays with ideas of self, theatrical role-playing, and what lies beneath. ‘Plasticity’ is a key term Schmidt uses to describe her work and marks a contemporary obsession with homogenised, generic beauty ideals that conform to gender, social, and cultural norms. As part of this approach, Schmidt treats her subjects like a product, as if positioned and conceptualised for an advertisement to highlight how the body is treated as a commodity.