College of Fine Arts senior Molly Rosner brings pop art back to life in a major way in her “Dream House” art exhibition, on display through Friday, Feb. 15 at the CFA’s Gallery 5. Using vibrant colors, thick brushstrokes and a touch of pizzazz to depict vintage images of men and women, her paintings pay homage to many artists before her. She puts a post-modern twist on old styles and themes, culminating in a display that is youthful, fashionable and retrospective.
At the heart of Rosner’s work is photography. All of her paintings derive from stills taken during photo shoots.
“I think my strongest works are my photographs to be honest,” Rosner said.
Keeping in line with her pop art paintings, the photographs have a vintage vibe with a hint of mid-20th century nostalgia. Mostly in the style of pin-up girls, the photographs are both sexy and satirical, acting as a caricature of the stereotypical 50s housewife. Manipulated with a filter, the images have the foggy film-camera feel that compliments the retro ambiance of the exhibit.
Rosner’s paintings differ in style, but follow the same artistic and social influence. They mostly consist of male subjects wearing suits and touting cigarettes. The works seem to represent the male counterparts to the women in the photographs. Visually constructed with solid, deeply contrasting colors, her paintings resemble the iconic works of the father of pop art.
“My artistic influence is mainly Andy Warhol,” she said.
Her admiration for Warhol does not stop there. She also models her mode of production after his.
“He had a whole factory of people working for him and helping him produce the art. That’s how I was able to do all this. I couldn’t have done it alone,” she said.
And like Warhol, Rosner is driven. She, along with School of Hospitality and Administration senior Julie Jackson used the opening night of the exhibition to launch their own “home décor and lifestyle design company” called Dream House. The company, which has 21 employees and two interns, aims at the 20-something demographic with pieces that look tailor-made to line the walls of dorm rooms and apartments.
Though Rosner’s home décor design may be vintage inspired yet entirely of this age, her “Dream House” art exhibition is as much a period piece as it is a display of pop art. Its use of gender roles and sexuality is telling. The pieces seem antiquated and presumptuous by modern standards, but that is the point.
Molly Rosner creates a space where the old is new again, an unapologetic reflection of a prior generation.
It is flashy and hip, but most importantly, it is honest.