Did you think this was a painting? This is actually a photograph of a person covered in paint...
From the early Renaissance until the beginnings of Impressionism, the goal of art, and in particular painting, was to imitate life. The emphasis, subject matter, and techniques varied over time, but the general idea was to present a naturalistic, believable view of the world on a two-dimensional surface. Then Impressionism hit, and everything changed, kicking off Modern art movements that routinely rejected the goal of presenting real life on a flat surface.
Now, along comes Alexa Meade, who actually takes real life-- ie, real people-- and paints literally directly on top it, turning the 3-d, real life subjects into a 2-dimensional-looking "representations" of the actual people. Her medium is acryclic and flesh.
Then, she photographs them, making the ultimate medium photography... that looks like a painting... of a person... that is actually a photograph of a painted person.
Sometimes she paints the surroundings as well, like this in this scenario.
Meade's work at its most basic already combines performance, painting, and art, and in pieces like the above, where she paints found objects as well and creates a whole scene, she also incorporates mixed media and installation.
And sometimes, the subject is the only painted element in the scene...
I wondered at first if this one was a black and white photo of a person she'd painted in color. But no... although both scenarios are interesting. Painting a person in black and white paint is a great concept, as would be changing the representation of the person by photographing them in black and white even if she'd painted them in color. Then the photographic record would in some way be a false account of the "performance" part.
Alexa Meade website here.
Alexa Meade flickr with more work here.
Meade is blowing up! Her work will be shown at art world giant Saatchi in London in the fall...