Merissa Mann utilizes her extensive painting background to create alluring staged photographs that play with the line between the erotic and the horrific. Toying with notions of eco-feminism, she highlights the plight of aquatic species vis a vi the reappropriation of art historical imagery and a kitsch aesthetic. The photographic diptych displayed in this show is the first in a forthcoming series, which will continue to expose and explore the environmental impact of unbridled consumption on endangered species. Ms. Mann’s past paintings provide a framework for her current conceptual considerations. An alumna of UC Berkeley, Ms. Mann graduated with Honors with a BA in Practice of Art and a Certificate in Design Innovation. Formerly a professional costume designer in the Bay Area, Ms. Mann’s experience in the theater world continues to inform and inspire her work.
He Died For Our Fins (Diptych), Photograph, 2020. Conception by Merissa Mann, Photography by Meka Tome *En space version consists of 2x 29” x 19” Epson Photo Prints
Shark fins are only desirable because certain societies have decided that the consumption of shark fin soup symbolizes wealth, prosperity, and status. Aesthetic notions of desirability are similarly engrained in our cultural psyche. The Madonna’s overdone make up, hair, and shoes points to the performative act of seduction which parallels the artificial construction of desire. Ultimately, economic structures profit from exploiting both human and marine flesh.