3 Grâcesby Bianca Lee VasquezAll good things come in threes. The Three Graces, players from Greek mythology. Also known as... Read More
by Bianca Lee Vasquez
All good things come in threes. The Three
Graces, players from Greek mythology. Also known as The Three Charities: as
derived from the Greek ‘charis’; they are always giving, abundant and devoted.
Charm, beauty and creativity. Daughters, friends and sisters. Each a
distillation of a virtue rendered in the flesh. Rendered in Primavera by
Botticelli: the idealised body; an eternal spring. Whilst in fistfuls of flesh,
Rubens painted their form. For Raphael - they move in symmetry, complementing
one another. The 6th Duke of Bedford commissioned them to be sculpted in marble
by Canova and installed on a rotating pedestal. For Bianca Lee Vasquez, they
are her sisters.
In contrast to the fetishised renderings of The
Three Graces that have come before, Vasquez’s photographic triptych reproduces
their story with all the subtleties and imperfections only known to the women
themselves. Compositional and visual harmonies, consistent across classical
versions, are instead reiterated through deep sisterly bonds and friendships.
Through her lens, the artist reveals arms that hold, embrace and move
protectively around one another. Clinically graceful and performative
mannerisms are replaced by the reality of expression, each woman unfazed by the
photographer’s presence. As both onlooker and participant, Vasquez usurps the male
gaze, becoming the author of her own narrative. Through modern interventions,
an apple iPhone and Nike trainers, the image playfully nods towards classical
symbols and allegories. Vasquez reimagines reductive stereotypes by weaving
bodily truths into this classical myth. Traditionally seen in the company of
fertility gods, with toes dipped in the burst skin of ripe pomegranates, these
three Graces expose the visceral realities of womanhood. The image bleeds.
Speaking to her larger practice, a process
driven by the sincerity of human interaction and experience, Vasquez’s Les
Trois Grâces, works to humanise and connect us to our historicised pasts.
Vasquez locates the body in nature, recognising its rightful place there.