Michael Mapes Deconstructed & Reconstructed Pin-Up Girls

michael mapes pin ups

Michael Mapes Pin Ups.
As I looked through the three-dimensional assemblages of classic pin-up portraits by artist Michael Mapes, I had trouble containing my composure. With each enlarged detail, my jaw dropped further to the floor.

Michael Mapes Pin Ups

Part sculpture, part bricolage, a little science and a lot of patience, American artist Michael Mapes has deconstructed and reconstructed traditional 20th century images of pin-up girls by combining photography and sculpture to result in dimensionalized collages of the originals.

Having previously done the same with works by Dutch Masters, I’ve been keeping an eye on this artist, who employs the same time-consuming techniques in this series.

With the patience of an entomologist, the eye of a forensic scientist and the vision of a sculptor, Michael dissects photographs of the originals and re-assembles them (along with found objects like glass vials and specimen containers) on the end of specimen or insect pins.

detail from Michael Mapes’ Blonde Specimen

Reducing the posed females to individual anatomical parts in multiples; their lips, thighs, eyes and so on become pixels in works that bridge the gap between photography and sculpture.

detail from Michael Mapes’ Specimen 480: Red

Original factions of the portraits are combined with objects of vanity such as false eyelashes, acrylic fingernails, cosmetic applicators and eye shadow. Even cigarette butts, human hair and photos of men can be found within the artworks.

Pinky
2016 | 28″w x 34″L x 3.5″d
insect pins, pinning foam, photographic prints, gelatin capsules, specimen boxes, fabric, glass vials, specimen bags

details:
Dark Haired Female
2016 | 28″w x 34″L x 3.5″d
photographic prints, painted prints, dried paint samples, glass vials, gelatin capsules, magnifying box, cosmetic brush, dental x-ray, insect pins, pinning foam, specimen containers, specimen bags, cigarette butt, bed sheet fabric

detail:
Blonde Specimen
2016 | 28″w x 34″L x 3.5″d
photographic prints, painted prints, false eyelashes, acrylic finger nails, gelatin capsules, cosmetic applicators, magnifying boxes, clay, insect pins, pinning foam, specimen containers, cotton thread, hair

detail:
Female Investigation
2016 | 28″w x 34″L x 3.5″d
photographic prints, painted prints, false eyelashes, acrylic finger nails, gelatin capsules, cosmetic applicators, magnifying boxes, clay, insect pins, pinning foam, specimen containers, cotton thread, hair

detail:
Female Subject
2016 | 28″w x 34″L x 3.5″d
photographic prints, painted prints, false eyelashes, acrylic finger nails, gelatin capsules, cosmetic applicators, magnifying boxes, clay, insect pins, pinning foam, specimen containers, cotton thread, hair

detail:
specimen 480: Red
2015 | 28″ x 34″ x 3″
photographs, Insect pins, pinning foam, pill capsules, specimen bags, glass vials, plastic canister, magnifying box, acrylic paint, Bristol, canvas, pencil drawings, doll hair, human hair, false eyelashes, acrylic nails, fabric, feathers, makeup applicators, eyeshadow, pantyhose, map pins, pastel powder

detail:
specimen 480: Roxanne
2015 | 28″ x 34″ x 3″
photographs, eyeshadow, charcoal drawing, fabric, canvas, insect pins, pinning foam, pill capsules, specimen bags, plastic canister, glass vials, magnifying box, push pins, map pins, dried rose petals, dried rose stem, Bristol paper, canvas, cotton, human hair, acrylic nails, false eyelashes

detail:

Calendar Girls
2015 | 33″ x 47″ x 3.5″
photographs, insect pins, pinning foam, specimen bags, plastic canisters, pill capsules, magnifying box, glass vials, makeup applicators, eyeshadow, acrylic nails, map pins, pastel powder, cotton thread

detail:

all images courtesy of the artist, some have been cropped for this post

Michael Mapes

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