An installation view of Rachelle Beaudoin's Conversation Lashes. Laser cut paper, digital photographs, 2013. (Photo by Michelle Aldredge)

An installation view of Rachelle Beaudoin’s Conversation Lashes. Laser cut paper, digital photographs, 2013. (Photo by Michelle Aldredge)

 

On Thursday I attended the opening for Rachelle Beaudoin’s new show, Let’s Work it Out, at the Carroll House Gallery in Keene, New Hampshire. Rachelle investigates feminine iconography and identity in popular culture using humorous video, performance, and wearable art. The contrast between the natural, rural environment where she lives in New Hampshire and the glossy, highly contrived experience of the Internet, magazines, and popular culture is a particularly rich vein of exploration for Beaudoin.

Whether she is dancing provocatively around a tree in the New Hampshire woods or covering her body in countless layers of nude-colored Spanx (in a piece aptly titled Absolute Control), I always find Beaudoin’s work daring, clever, funny, and on the mark.

 

A still from Rachelle Beaudoin's video performance Absolute Control, 2012.

A still from Rachelle Beaudoin’s video performance Absolute Control, 2012.

 
 
My custom Conversation Lashes, which say "Seen Not Heard" (Photo by Michelle Aldredge)

My custom Conversation Lashes, which say “Seen Not Heard” (Photo by Michelle Aldredge)

 
 
Me sporting my new Conversation Lashes

Me sporting my new Conversation Lashes

 
 
A selection of Rachelle Beaudoin's Conversation Lashes (Photo by Michelle Aldredge)

A selection of Rachelle Beaudoin’s Conversation Lashes (Photo by Michelle Aldredge)

 
 
Artist and teacher Mary Goldthwaite-Gagne applying her Conversation Lashes during the opening for Let's Work it Out (Photo by Michelle Aldredge)

Artist and teacher Mary Goldthwaite-Gagne applying her Conversation Lashes during the opening for Let’s Work it Out. Her lashes say “Zadie’s Mom.” (Photo by Michelle Aldredge)

 
 
(Photo by Michelle Aldredge)

An installation view of Conversation Lashes (Photo by Michelle Aldredge)

 
For the opening, Rachelle designed custom Conversation Lashes for female friends in attendance. Each set of lashes was meant to express some deeper truth about the woman wearing them. Rachelle agreed to create a set of eyelashes for me that said Seen, Not Heard. (I wanted the lashes to be a tribute to my Southern, Christian fundamentalist upbringing, an environment where women were often taught that they should be “seen and not heard.”)

Two of my other favorite pieces by Rachelle are Way to Go! and Kill Me Now Abs!, which you can watch below. Beaudoin has no hesitation about using her own body in her work in order to make a point, a fact that prompted one male college student at the opening to say, “This girl is like that girl, you know the girl from the show Girls.”

 


 
 


 
Beaudoin attended the College of the Holy Cross and holds a Master’s degree in Digital+Media from Rhode Island School of Design. She has exhibited at Intimacy: Across Digital and Visceral Performance Goldsmiths London UK, the University of Lapland in Rovaniemi Finland, Low Lives 3 and Itinerant Festival of International Performance Art, Queens NY. She was a Spring 2013 Artist-in-Residence at Anderson Ranch in Snowmass CO. She will be a Fulbright artist-in-residence at quartier21 in Vienna, Austria in 2014.

You can check out all of Rachelle’s work on her websiteLet’s Work it Out is at the Carroll House Gallery in Keene, New Hampshire, through February 22, 2014. A special thanks to Rachelle for the custom lashes!
 

Steve Roberge and Rachelle Beaudoin at the opening for Let's Work it Out (Photo courtesy the artist)

Steve Roberge and Rachelle Beaudoin at the opening for Let’s Work it Out (Photo courtesy the artist)

 

 

(Photo by Michelle Aldredge)

(Photo by Michelle Aldredge)

 

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