Artwork copyright Maisie Cousins.
In this modern era of femininity, new ways of expressing the female nature and its spirit are blossoming all around, but one bloom stands out. Maisie Cousins takes one of the most stereotypically feminine symbols and augments it, destroys it, brings it to life, juxtaposes it against the body and makes it an essential part of the body itself. A flower is no longer just a flower, it is a living, breathing entity that consumes the flesh, dances around in its (un)natural existence and makes us wonder; is this one of the most sensual things we have ever seen, or one of the most disgusting images of something that is synonymous to beauty?
Young Maisie Cousins is a rising talent coming from London. Born in 1992, the artist has a mere handful of shows behind her name, but she has already managed to build a prominent career. What makes her stand out may just be her view of the world, and the unique way she translates it into art. “Nature is always beautiful and also disgusting. Even the most beautiful people leak, bleed and shit,” said Maisie Cousins in an interview, and as soon as you get a glimpse of her work, you instantly realize what she meant with that. Cousins portrays the elements of body, nature, technology, femininity and power in a way that would best be described as visceral. With over 54,000 people closely following her Instagram, the young artist has garnered quite a fan base. After working with the same themes for several years now, Maisie Cousins is presenting her first solo exhibition titled grass, peony, bum.
The photographer deliberately creates images that make us feel a bit confused, somewhat disgusted, and yet intrigued, and even a little aroused. In a seemingly simple photograph, Cousins combines singular elements into something grand, vivid and provocative. An exposed part of the female body covered up with a delicate and oily flower, stray blades of grass and flower petals scattered around the flesh, body and nature joined in one cohesive and symbiotic relationship. Ripped wings of a butterfly laying idly on a dented, broken and corrosive metal background; a slug moving across a squeezed breast covered with pieces of grass. All the elements may seem unrelated and forcefully brought together, but after a few seconds the image settles in one’s mind and reveals a different form. Yes, it is sometimes disgusting, it is sometimes beautiful, enigmatic and contrary, but it is also organic, brutally honest and disarming.
The series of work presented at London’s T.J. Boulting in grass, peony, bum are a collection of different pieces from several years, and some of them clearly represent the artist’s exploration of sexuality and growing into maturity. From humble beginnings with simple Tumblr posts and Instagram popularity, Maisie Cousins made her way to the top of the creative echelon in London. If you thought nature couldn’t be erotic, the young photographer will make you think again. Explore a different expression of sensuality, femininity and power through Maisie Cousins’ first solo exhibition.
Maisie Cousins: grass, peony, bum
Through June 24th
59 RIDING HOUSE STREET
LONDON W1W 7EG