Julia Fullerton-Batten – Jessica from the Unadorned series (2012)
There are a hosts of critical and conceptual foibles in Fuller-Batten’s work, including by not limited to: the casually conversational tone of her artist statements, her tendency to explicitly set herself as the condescending arbiter w/r/t her subjects’ maturity/understanding of their world and lives.
Further, she attributes the sometimes inelegant and conceptually inappropriate technical shortcomings of her one-size-fits-all approach to a sort of intentionality. (I’m thinking here of the statement accompanying her Awkward series which refers to the Second Life-like plastic, texture of the figures as the result of ‘subtle lighting techniques’.)
There’s her fixation and repeated fetishization of teenage girls, also. Further, I feel as if the specificity with which she frames her images more often than not undermines her aims. (For example: including the additional negative space around the model shifts the image toward a reading with equal emphasis on the model and the location–contradicting the goal of the work.)
Criticisms aside: Fullerton-Batten engages with interesting/important conceptual inquires. And whether or not the work turns out as well as it might otherwise, there’s little room left for quibbling over the context.
There are more than a few points of comparison between Fullerton-Batten’s style and Gregory Crewdson’s. It’s impossible to argue that the former possesses the latter’s grasp of the subtle nuances of lighting. Yet, in every other way, Fullerton-Batten is indubitably the better artist.
If the world in which we live wasn’t so structurally sexist, I suspect Julia Fullerton-Batten would enjoy the critical reputation so unjustly lavished on Crewdson–a good thing in my book.