Artist Profile: Prue Stent
Prue Stent is not your average photographer. Her images are obscure and challenging, blurring the lines between art painting, textiles, sculpture, graphic design and photography. Loaded with creative ammunition to last a war, Prue truly has an extensive and wondrous portfolio. Her works, featuring young bodies and souls are riddled with sincere joy and playfulness.
What struck me most was the whimsical use of color; strokes applied to body parts, handmade installations or simply the innocent use of nature to enhance this infatuation of colour. She commonly closely frames body parts, pairing the parts with props such as octopus tentacles or molds of jelly, allowing for new and unique meaning to be created. The harmonious relationship between the weather, nature and human beings is energetic and relatable. The organic, vivid and unrestricted nature of her work is completely universal for the mischievous and liberated person in everyone. Her spontaneity and spirited subjects of interactions, femininity and solitude translate so powerfully to the audience through materials and movement. The unpredictability of Prue’s work keeps her an enthralling and an avant-garde artist and I can’t wait to see what praisable madness she will put forward next!
An insight into Prue Stent
Your use of colour is fascinating, do you have a favourite colour yourself?
I become obsessed with certain colours. It was green a while back but at the moment it is pink. I like to challenge myself to work with a colour and then explore the ‘idea' of the colour. At the moment my focus is on pink and all the many cultural associations there are with pink especially as it relates to precepts of gender identity.
What exposure has your work received so far?
I have had a lot of exposure through social media, and because of that, I have had many national and international magazine features, plus a couple of solo exhibitions, Mercedes fashion week, record covers and many private sales.
What are your stylistic inspirations?
Nature and decorative objects. Generally, I will find a location and see what I can do with it and how it can be manipulated and transformed. I like to incorporate various props that prompt and trigger spontaneous actions and moments. My work is also extremely influenced by surrealism – I like to create unexpected juxtaposition of dream like figures merged within or amongst the landscape. I like to blur the boundaries between what is real and what is imagined. There are also underpinnings of sexuality and sexual desire in most of my work.
Please explain some of the symbolism in your works.
In a lot of my work you will notice that the face of the model is absent or obscured by veils or masks of one sort of another. This symbolises our cultures focus on the female body rather then individuality. The viewer is then left to decode what the work says about the power of feminine sensuality. I also like to juxtapose the natural environment with the female form to magnify themes of poise and strength.
Conceptually, what are your main influences?
My most recent work is significantly influenced by young contemporary female artists such as Petra Collins, Mina Gilligan, Arvida Bystrom and Frost French who are interested in exploring ideas surrounding feminism, censorship and the female body.
What is your preparation process for shooting?
I spend a lot of time scouring second hand stores and $2 shops to add to my stockpile of props. That’s a hangover from my childhood where we always had a big collection of ‘dress-ups’. I also have a few favourite secluded locations where I know my models and I can have reasonable privacy. I’m always keen to find new locations so I will spend time looking in the country as well as disused urban sites.
Your work is incredibly original, how do you consistently obtain this sense of uniqueness?
I always have an idea in my head about something but it is never fixed as I like to make room for possibilities. I also work with models/artistic collaborators such as Honey Long who are very creative themselves and so we are all comfortable with spontaneity. The weather also is very important and it will always throw up a curveball that leads to interesting results.
The use of props with diverse textures and forms is a very clever aspect of your compositions, what are some of the challenges you face when utilizing large sculptures or installations?
Many practical skills are needed when working with installation so these shoots are always approached as a team.
Are most of your works collaboration pieces?
A significant percentage of my work is in collaboration with Honey Long. We have a natural affinity and love to play with ideas/locations/costumes. Two heads are often better than one – not just because of more ideas but the process is really fun and that's when ideas can more easily flow.
Some of your works are confronting and abstract, do you intend to provoke a particular reaction from the audience?
I really don’t set out to confront the viewer. I set out capture images and ideas which are interesting to me rather than deliberately confrontational.
What direction do you see your art taking in the future?
My intention is to keep on exploring the creative side of photography and producing my own personal works. I wish to continue producing creative work in a collaborative team context, using photography in all sorts of ways with all sorts of purposes. I am very exited about working in collaboration with other artists as I find this really drives my creative output.
More on Prue’s work and its universal themes:
My work inevitably cycles back to an exploration of the constructs of femininity. This universal theme (and perhaps a quite well trodden one) presents an endless number of avenues for exploration in the medium of photography.
My influences are classic concepts of femininity and the female form. The mystique (or charm) of eroticism and fertility in a naturalistic setting. I tend to construct images, which will amplify the unaffected female charm, grace and confidence of my models. I intend to create effortless aesthetic beauty that juxtaposes the archetype of contrived or constructed beauty, which is so dominant in our culture.
A subtle feminist message of empowerment is a quietly subversive element if my work. This can be directly attributed to working with joyfully uninhibited female collaborators/ models.
I seek to dramatize the effortless radiance of feminine beauty in its simplest naturalistic form, which reveals the indomitable power of the female spirit. That’s the muse that drives my creative journeys of discovery.
For more on Prue visit: http://pru-e.tumblr.com
By Lucy Murray