“I had been in a creative slump,” recalls Isis Boundy, “so I just decided to experiment with materials that felt bright and engaging to me.”
The University of Brighton graduate remembers that at the time she had a thing with painting things in her room bright pink in order to motivate herself. “So, when I went in the studio that day I picked up random materials that appealed to me,” she says. “Bringing along the neon pink paint I’d used to paint my room, clingfilm, plastic sheets and fruit, I had the idea I wanted to create something that was beautiful yet disgusting.”
One of the results, Boundy’s wonderfully glossy image The Passage of the Nile, disguises a serious message. It’s part of a series created by the London-based artist titled Viscid Dreams which, as Boundy herself puts it: “Examines tropes of beauty standards perpetuated through media consumption and [challenges] these standards through associations of the abject”.
“I had the idea I wanted to create something that was beautiful yet disgusting”
Boundy’s high-gloss, magazine style presentation makes you look, but as you study her work more deeply, its true meaning becomes clearer. Although the style of Passage of the Nile is reminiscent of fashion advertising photography, it is actually highlighting a side of womanhood that isn’t featured in high-end campaigns: the reality of menstruation.
Boundy has always been interested in fashion and beauty, and her Viscid Dreams series takes a closer look at what is and isn’t considered ‘beautiful’. “My practice is fuelled by curiosity of the world around me and the human experience,” she says. “Beauty standards and definitions are forever changing. I think my work is a way of me trying to explore and negate that.”
“Beauty standards and definitions are forever changing. I think my work is a way of me trying to explore and negate that”
Viscid Dreams was part of Boundy’s graduation exhibition from the University of Brighton in 2021. Elephant identified her as one of the year’s most exciting art school graduates. While Boundy has an eye on future projects, she doesn’t yet see Viscid Dreams as being fully finished.
“I do have some projects coming up,” she reveals. “However, they are still somewhat works in progress. I’ve been experimenting with cyanotypes and different plant forms!”
“I feel like the project Passage of the Nile came from is not yet complete,” she explains. “I want to get back in the studio and shoot some more images exploring beauty, focusing on odd and disconcerting close-ups, as I really did have fun creating that project.”
Isis Boundy’s Passage of the Nile print is available in a strictly limited edition of 50 including a certificate of authenticity.