A Girl's Gotta Do What A Girl's Gotta Do

Michele O'Marah
Charlie and the Resistance are Killed, 2010
Duratrans Prints, Lightboxes, Paint, Spray Paint, Paper, Shelving Unit, Table, Computer Parts, Extension Cord, Wood, Florescent Lights, Film Gels, Shopping Cart, Cardboard Tubes
Dimensions Variable

October 17 - November 14, 2010

A Girl's Gotta Do What A Girl's Gotta Do

Brennan & Griffin is thrilled to present A Girl’s Gotta Do What A Girl’s Gotta Do, Michele O'Marah’s debut Solo Exhibition in New York. For the exhibition, O'Marah has made three video pieces that are re-created scenes from the Pamela Anderson film Barb Wire (1996). Continuing her examination of mass media representations of the revolutionary, this exhibition is the second half of a project that began with her piece How Goes it with the Black Movement? (2007), whose focus was a PBS broadcast interview between Black Panther leader Huey P. Newton and arch-conservative host and author William F. Buckley on his program Firing Line. A counterpoint to the heady, academic discussion of the former, O'Marah's current source, Barb Wire, is an adaptation of the graphic novel of the same name. Anderson's "Barb" is a disaffected mercenary in the post-Second U.S. Civil War city of Steel Harbor, who gets caught in the middle of the revolutionary activities of a former flame who is working to expose the ruling Neo-Fascist government for its ruthless behavior. Aimed at a Gen X audience, the film has acquired a cult status despite a poor reception, both critically and at the box office.
Having re-staged four scenes from the film, O'Marah has cast a different professional actress for each to play the character of Barb; handcrafting and producing each in her studio.  “In directing these actresses, O’Marah doesn’t aim for parody, camp, or kitsch, though the production’s cheap sets and exposed seams might imitate kitsch’s effects; instead, she arrives at a pragmatic form of approximation that allows a human element—the proverbial “artist’s hand”—to emerge from the smooth plastic surfaces of the original.”[1] In addition to the artist's probe of the corporate, MTV-styled revolutionary hero, O'Marah's efforts serve as deconstructive analyses of the film's representation of femininity. Hiring a diverse range of actresses to fill Anderson's stiletto high heels, O'Marah's "Barb" takes various forms. Her video works take on the most sexually explicit scenes from the film and offer a variety of interpretations of the lead role: campy, flirty, and sexy.  “Leaning heavily on 90’s nostalgia, three video installations recreate the stickiest un-feminist moments of Pamela Anderson Lee’s Barb Wire and hilariously O’Marah manages to use today’s tits and ass to interrogate yesterday’s tits and ass. O’Marah is the real revolutionary here.”[2]
Set pieces from the production are re-installed and accessorized with photographs and sculptures blur the line between art installation and function. In addition, a series of text-based works on paper, pulled from dialogue and lyrics from the film’s soundtrack (primarily new metal cover versions of older songs), address issues of authorship and contrivance.
1. Michael Ned Holte, “Body Doubles: Michael Ned Holte on Michele O’Marah, Artforum, February 2010, p. 75.
2. Jamie Lee, womantalk.org, January 2010.

Michele O'Marah received her BFA from the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and currently resides in Los Angeles. O’Marah has had Solo Exhibitions at Cottage Home, Los Angeles, Sister, Los Angeles and Mary Goldman, Los Angeles as well as two person exhibitions at Rental, New York and Peres Projects, Berlin. Her work has been featured in Group Exhibitions at the CCAC Wattis Institute in San Francisco, White Columns, New York, Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, the London Institute of Contemporary Art, London, and The Station, Art Basel Miami Beach.  O’Marah is currently working on a Solo Exhibition at the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum opening in May 2011.