New York-based artist Emma Stern is showcasing her latest body of work across the pond at Almine Rech‘s London outpost. Entitled Penny & The Dimes: Dimes 4Ever World Tour, the paintings within the exhibition center around a fictional all-female rock group that was notably inspired by a trip Stern took to Stockholm, where she visited the ABBA Museum.
“I was utterly captivated,” recalled Stern in an interview with writer and curator, Shumon Basar. In particular, the artist was fixated on a recent ABBA live show which consisted of holographic facsimiles performing their biggest hits. “I couldn’t stop thinking about the four of them, about their holographic proxies frozen in time, touring in perpetuity,” added Stern. “This was conceptually so very connected to the work I had already been doing about avatars and virtual selves. The idea to do an exhibition about a rock band was solidified in my mind by the time we caught the vattentaxi back to the hotel.”
Stern spent the past few years mentally composing a short story around the all-female rock band in her latest show. Dubbed Penny & The Dimes, the characters are painted in the artist’s dreamlike aesthetic of pastel hues — first composed digitally through 3D software, and laid on the canvas through traditional painterly techniques. As the story goes, the band is turned into holograms “at the hands of a nefarious record executive” and frozen in time to tour for eternity.
Much like her past work, including last year’s pirate paintings, each show is an opportunity for Stern to use art as a form of cosplay; creating surreal characters and compositions that comment on real world themes, such as femininity in the virtual space. Penny & The Dimes: Dimes 4Ever World Tour opened earlier this month and will be on view in London until September 30.
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Grosvenor Hill, London W1K 3JH