#7 Floral FreedomPortfolio

Maisie Cousins

  Voyeuristic
view of the
 female form

Maisie Cousins

Maisie Cousins

Maisie Cousins, born 1992, is a rebellious young talent from London. Her bold approach to making art is hedonistic and self satisfying. She explores themes of femininity, nature, power, technology, the body and indulgence and is obsessed with slimy textures and oozing ambiguous liquids, especially when they collide with flesh. At the moment, Cousins is gripped by nature’s inherent perfection and its abilityto withstand the grotesque. “I’m obsessed with shooting nature with disgusting things, because I think it’s impossible to make nature look ugly.”

maisiecousins.com

Maisie Cousins creates catchy images that seduce and shock simultaneously. There’s always a relationship between the beautiful and the grotesque in her sticky, sweaty, hyper- saturated photographs and videos. Imagine phallic blooms of peonies being caressed by the artist’s fingers... Get the picture?_______.

Maisie Cousins
Maisie Cousins
Maisie Cousins

Maisie Cousins

Maisie Cousins, born 1992, is a rebellious young talent from London. Her bold approach to making art is hedonistic and self satisfying. She explores themes of femininity, nature, power, technology, the body and indulgence and is obsessed with slimy textures and oozing ambiguous liquids, especially when they collide with flesh. At the moment, Cousins is gripped by nature’s inherent perfection and its abilityto withstand the grotesque. “I’m obsessed with shooting nature with disgusting things, because I think it’s impossible to make nature look ugly.”

maisiecousins.com

Maisie Cousins
“IF PEOPLE’S ATTITUDE TOWARDS WOMEN HAD PROGRESSED IN ANY WAY, WE PROBABLY WOULDN’T NEED TO TAKE PICTURES OF FLOWERS THAT REPRESENT FEMALE BODYPARTS TO MAKE US FEEL MORE POSITIVE ABOUT THEM_______.”

Maisie Cousins
Maisie Cousins

Flowercast

Tigerlilly
Peonie
Anthurium
Foxtail lillies

Maisie Cousins
Maisie Cousins

Flowercast

Tigerlilly
Peonie
Anthurium
Foxtail lillies

Maisie Cousins
Maisie Cousins
“I’M OBSESSED WITH SHOOTING NATURE WITH DISGUSTING THINGS, BECAUSE I THINK IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO MAKE NATURE LOOK UGLY_______.”

Maisie Cousins
Maisie Cousins

Text
Rosanne Loffeld

Sources
British Journal of Photography, bjp-online.com, creativereview.co.uk, dazeddigital.com, freundevonfreunden.com.

Coming across Maisie’s feed on Instagram evokes a visceral response you won’t be able to pull your eyes away, no matter how squeamish the images make you. This photographer captures the intersection between beauty and repulsion, imperfection and purity – where flaws become weirdly attractive. This lady likes to explode paint onto aluminium and then binge-clean her flat.

Steering away from polite representations of the female body, Cousins is privy to shots that confuse and shock, melding ideas about feminism, nature, impulse and arousal in her stunningly vibrant portraits.

The 23-year-old artist started blogging her photos at 15 as a means to escape school, but her visceral work eventually got scooped up by major projects and exhibitions like Petra Collins’ girl tome Babe and the November edition of Late at Tate Britain. Instagram provides the means to decimate and create her pieces, she uses the platform both to scout women for her photographs and to prompt creative partnerships with anyone, anywhere.


Maisie is a pretty unapologetic human. When someone decides to take aversion to some body hair or stretch marks on show by commenting negatively on her Instagram, well, let’s just say she’s over it. “I don’t give a shit,” she says. “I think it’s funny. You go on their pages and you see they’re 14 and from Texas. I’m not going to bump into them. Our worlds aren’t going to collide.” Her work redefines femininity, celebrating the elements of the female form that most photographers airbrush away. Each frame a visceral trip. Her images equally seduce and shock, in all the right ways. Tired of being inundated with images of the ‘industry approved’ female body, she set out to normalise nudity as a natural thing and aestheticize previously demonised body parts.


Maisie has a performative feminist element to her work, which brings a sense of power and rebellion to the image. “We’re doing a lot of the same things that feminists were doing in the 80’s, probably even before. Why are these themes still around? It’s so sad. If people’s attitude towards vaginas had progressed in any way, we probably wouldn’t need to take pictures of flowers that represent vaginas to make us feel more positive about them.”


Given Maisie’s provocative visual language, it’s unsurprising that there are elements of both playfulness and dominance in her work. Last year the Tate prompted a revelation when it commissioned her to respond to a painting by Nathaniel Bacon. She created lots of macro videos of sensual looking fruits and flowers, which were then displayed on huge screens, four metres tall. “His painting of a cookmaid with all these saucy vegetables around her was well up my street,” Maisie laughs.


Later on Maisie also featured in the Creative Review Photography Annual and Vogue Photo Festival, and she devoted the second space to darkly humorous collages. This young female warrior is taking what has traditionally been a male gaze and making it into something of her own. However, they’re not just rehashing pseudo feminist versions of bygone erotic photographs; there’s flesh and sexuality, but her images are more than that. They contain a huge sense of fun, rebelliousness, unashamed hedonism and a distinctively essential touch of beautiful flowers and the foliage of nature_______.

Text
Rosanne Loffeld

Sources
British Journal of Photography, bjp-online.com, creativereview.co.uk, dazeddigital.com, freundevonfreunden.com.