Head Trip: The 80s
Paula Gillen emerged on the Baltimore art scene of the late 1970s. Like other artists of the Pictures Generation, she appropriated media and advertising images to highlight and disrupt social norms. She soon began staging her photographs, using friends as models and creating sets with cardboard, stencils and spray paint. The resulting scenarios examined women’s roles and patriarchal hierarchies “from Playboy to the Catholic Church,” Gillen says. Later, as an art student in Chicago in the 1980s, her work became increasingly psychological, addressing anxiety, mental states and gender performativity. To this day, she remains consumed by many of the same themes and techniques. - Elizabeth Monaghan, Ten-Nineteen.org
Head Trip: The 80s features Gillen's staged and documentary images from 1975-1985. An index in the back lists models name and location of photos. The book measures 8.5 x 8.5 inches, has 117 images, 146 pages, soft cover, self-published in 2016 on Amazon.
"American artist Paula Gillen creates staged and documentary photographs that draw on sex, psychology, and fashion to investigate cultural identity. Published in 2016, Head Trip commemorates Gillen's prolific early years, the 1970s and 1980s, which she spent living in Baltimore and Chicago. The city's cheap rents and urban-based art schools and universities made it a hotbed of artistic activity. The publication surveys several fanciful photographic series, which were made collaboratively in this community of visual and performance artists. Her vision is humorously deep, rendered in compositions of colorful sets and unbelievable costumes." Critic and Curator - Stephanie Browne
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