John Berger, in his book Ways of Seeing, states that “according to usage and conventions… men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at.” In Renaissance images, nude women were painted almost exclusively for the male viewer. Women are often depicted with their bodies turned towards the viewer while their heads are turned away and gazing in a mirror. The woman is aware of being the object of the male gaze, thus invoking a Lacanian view of alienation. Belinda Frikh considers such analysis moribund - but would, no doubt, use more colourful language to do so. From this traveller through the worlds of fashion and illustration comes a singularly empowered view of the female form. Why can’t a strong woman assert her gaze in mutual admiration? Her femmes are the same breed as the Viennese hauteur queens of Klimt and the commodities that own their own potent sizzle in Mucha’s art nouveau posters. Their beauty and symmetry may render them components, devices to be tessellated and repeated in the service of (mere) decoration, but boy, are they happy to be at the centre of the kaleidoscope. Born in the Annecy region of the French Alps, studying Fine Art at L’Universite de Beaux Arts and a Masters degree at the Arts Appliques in Lyons. Frikh followed her heart and head to London where she has since worked as an in-house illustrator for various designers, including fashion designer Julia Clancey and Sonja Nuttal, as well as creating work for clients including Bonds Australia, Levi’s, Sony, and MTV. Like their pithy, fierce and mercurial creator, her sinewy heroines own their own destiny. If you asked them if they were happy to be objectified, they’d poutingly give you the finger and puff regally on a high-tar cigarette. Male or female, you should feel free to take one home. Just don’t be surprised if you get a load of attitude for your trouble. Notable exhibitions: West London Art Factory, Urban in Ibiza, Hospital Club, C99 Art Project, Oui Madame, Art auction at the House of Parliament alongside other artists (Banksy, Nick Walker, Goldie, Inkie) Notable current projects: alongside Julia Clancey (London/L.A based designer), Blanc Ençens (Berlin). BELINDA FRIKH WEBSITE

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