Sophie McMahan

I am fascinated by American culture from the 1950’s and 1960’s, and in my work I draw inspiration from family portraits, pin-up magazines, romance comics, and a range of other publications – specifically the advertisements – from this time period. Photographs from this era generally present images of prosperity, wholesomeness, and order, with clean-cut people usually bearing exaggerated, almost absurd grins. Yet these images of assuredness do not reflect what life was like for most people; this was a period of American history marked by unhappiness, repression and a crippling pressure to succeed. Because of this discrepancy I have felt an urge to pervert these images, hinting at the far less than perfect reality of what those times were like for most. In addition to subtle distortions in the figures themselves, I often insert unexpected, strange objects into scenes that are associated with affluence and happiness.