Gardens of Paradise
Exhibition Dates: December 7, 2013 – February 28,2014
Opening Reception with the Artist: Saturday, December 7 5:00 – 7:30 pm
It is hard to look away from these large format prints. The image surface shimmers and seduces, dances and plays, and the larger than life scale works both to clarify and abstract Turounet’s subjects. Images are taken in the city of excess, Las Vegas, Nevada. Secrets stay behind and anything goes in this desert playground, and Gardens of Paradise embraces the grit thinly veiled by symbols of vanity- the pools and gardens of the strip.
Images from this series are taken directly from a section of the Vegas strip known as Paradise. Here companionship is available for a price, and images of girls are handed out like candied promises on cards with “glamour shots” and phone numbers. Card-snappers compete and pass out cards to anyone whose hands graciously or begrudgingly take them. You have your choice of women: White, Black, or Asian- direct to your room in 20 minutes, and for cheap. There is Gina, she is on special for $47, but she is a ‘real girl, not a model’; there is Jazmine who is available for a Happy Hour Special at $99; or Beth and Bella at a 2 for 1 for the same price. And there’s Brit, Bridget, Belinda and Becky – each for $150 and with no hidden fees.
Come dawn, cards litter the street like confetti after a party. The sensibility of these images is deeply layered. They speak to lustful desire and private excess, the hollow promise of companionship, and the ethics of the sex trade. Beyond these immediate associations are other more subtle implications that unfold when the works are removed from the stigma of their location, including the general visual consumption of the nude, the perception of beauty, obsession with youth, and insatiable craving of fantasy.
The images are undeniably beautiful, striking and subtle mirages. What is most enticing about them is that through the watery pools everything is screened; we are separated from these fields whether we desire or distain them. Turounet smartly leaves us free to indulge in both sumptuous and guiltless viewing.