Art in the 1990s was defined at the beginning of the decade by a group of artists in the United Kingdom that came to be known as the YBAs, or Young British Artists. They were a diverse collective of creatives, affiliated loosely by their age, nationality, and their association with Goldsmiths and the Royal College of Art in London, alongside being favoured by super collector of the time Charles Saatchi.
After working on restorations at the Hagia Sofia, I started writing my PhD at Sevilla University, Spain. This is where the series Iconos was born. I was interested in exploring women of our century alongside trending brands. Globalization has lead brands, logos, and images to be recognized worldwide. In these paintings, I portray the women as experiencing the privilege of consuming these recognizable brands. The Virgin Mary plays an integral part within my works and especially in this series. During my research I had come across the work “Madonna surrounded by seraphim and cherubim” by Faquet. It is the first painting of the Virgin Mary revealing her breast. Faquet painted the Virgin Mary as a modern woman for the 15th century, making it a contemporary painting for its time.
The Virgin Mary’s iconic image stands so recognizably as a religious symbol and imagery throughout history; it shows us how symbols and brands are created and become ingrained into our society and visual language. In my PhD, I also researched Andalusian wall ceramics and was interested in how the designs and imageries repeat themselves. I saw a direct link to contemporary designers’ bags and clothes with similar patterns and symbols that repeat. With this in mind, I wanted to paint contemporary imagery of powerful women in art with modern-day symbols, brands and logos in my iconos series to express the ongoing globalism and consumerism of symbols and icons. I also created my own symbol/design, which you can see throughout my paintings, The barcode. It is the symbol of our modern-day society, and it interacts with our everyday lives, found on almost all items. The barcode also represents identity – we all have an identity linked to a bureaucratic number like a bank card or our National Identity number. Without this, it is as if we do not exist in modern society.