‘Ugly Girl Hand Cream’ invites you to a pink purgatory

Flat, ‘base’. A juxtaposition of unease. She paints a shadowless rendition of a willow tree, sky and grass in pink-red captioned: SUPER REALISTIC LOOKING WILLOW TREE, SOME LEAVES MOVE GENTLY IN THE WIND

“…kaleidoscopic depictions of otherworldly landscapes from multiple perspectives have given way to singular and imposing perspectival representations of cold interior spaces…” Ugly Girl Hand Cream is a solo exhibition by Gitte Möller and her first with SMITH gallery. Marking a retreat from previous working methods, it continues the development of modern-day mysteries. This arcana expressed via the intertwine of religious iconography and online fan art disrupts stark flatness with depth illusion and can be found somewhere between digital art and painting.

Suggestive to the geometric gauge and linear perspective of Quattrocento painting the work collectively conveys the first-person perspective popularized by early 2.5D video games. The stylistic change in Möller’s approach is emphasized with the sharp right angles of ceilings, doors and walls and encompasses a wider shift thematically from what is alien-like, to that of alienation. The boundless virtual realities that were promised to society through technological innovation is contested in the fact that the work reminds one of a purgatory experienced in solitude.

The repetitive motif of tiles indicates to her viewer that there are discrepancies inherent in the abilities of digital art and painting as an art form. In each work Möller painstakingly renders the patterned tiles of the interior, on walls, ceiling and doors. Reminiscent of the same technique used in early generation video games, such tiled patterns were employed to cover large expanses of surface in various game levels and was accomplished with the use of textures. In Ugly Girl Hand Cream, the scene is created slowly, painted brick for brick with shadow, gradient, highlight.

Möller’s panel paintings share characteristics with that of the austere type paintings found in a chapel environment, with her oil on tracing paper paintings relating more to the marginalia in medieval manuscripts. The tracing paper then shows the link between religious iconography and online fan art. This can be described as a similarity in the work being images of devotion created by a community of individuals, a reinterpretation of a central canon informed by their own unique histories. Representation is then a form of shorthand symbolism. The place of saints and deities is taken up by anime characters, Microsoft clipart, video game sprites to mention but a few.

Metaphors of youth are met with placid and restrained architectural depictions.


Ugly Girl Hand Cream opens on 16 January at 17h30.

‘Room 3’
‘Heaven helps those who help themselves I’
‘More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered prayers’
‘Everything must go’

Suggested Posts



Get our newsletter straight to your mailbox