Which idiosyncrasy would you say epitomises Grande Bretagne : a blustery July afternoon by the seaside (I happen to be looking out the window right now…); a belligerent Basil Fawlty avoiding mentioning “the War”; an ancient law allowing a pregnant lady to pee in a constable’s helmet (that’s right – Google it…)?
I’d say it lies more in the inherent irreverence directed towards those in positions of superiority and authority, particularly the British Royal Family (and I’m not talking Jim and Barbara Royle). It began in 1977 with the Pistols’ “God save the Queen” as a satirical alternative to the Silver Jubilee celebrations. It continued with ex-KLF member James Cauty’s Stamps of Mass Destruction showing a gas masked monarch on postage stamps of various denominations. And Bristol graffiti artist Banksy never passes up an opportunity to take the proverbial…, with impudent images depicting kissing coppers, urinating bearskin-wearing Queen’s Guards and then the Queen of England herself metamorphosed into a chimpanzee and yet again as Ziggy Stardust, complete with a firey hued lightning bolt across one eye.
So how does this national obsession with unpatriotic impertinence translate to the world of latex? Check out UK based latex artist Michelle Mildenhall’s latest pieces entitled QE 1 and QE 2. Michelle portrays a latex appliquéd youthful Queen Elizabeth with the incongruous adornments of latex hood and collar. What would Prince Philip say if he saw her looking so? Methinks he’d droolingly approve, the dirty old git!
Michelle Mildenhall combines her fetish for latex with her artistic creativity to produce bold, dramatic portraits. Her pieces come as signed originals and limited edition prints. Her collection of striking latex art work depicts fetish-eyed models (including her Majesty as previously mentioned), hoods, ball gags and collars amongst other elements of perversion. She also welcomes commissions if you would like your own look and style immortalised in latex portraiture.
I had the pleasure of viewing Michelle’s latex art in a solo exhibition held at Rubber Cult, London on the 4th of May. Her work has also recently featured in exhibitions at Cultivate Gallery, London and Sin City Gallery, Las Vegas.