Marina Shaltout is a multimedia artist who combines video, sculpture and installation processes. She is currently living in Tucson and working towards her MFA from the University of Arizona. Her work is primarily concerned with the portrayal of femininity throughout mythology, popular culture, and her own family narratives. Marina holds a BFA from the University of Illinois and has completed residencies in Las Cruces, New Mexico and Stodvarfjordur, Iceland. She has exhibited work across the United States as well as in Japan, Iceland, and Austria.
My work employs video, sculpture, installation, performance, and photography to tell invented and appropriated narratives surroundings topics of femininity. I sample themes of mythology, horror cinema, and pop culture as a means to examine female archetypal motifs. While I am heavily influenced by these subjects, I also incorporate elements of personal and collective matrilineal memory. Because of this, my finished works are often situated somewhere between artifice and personal experience.
By examining femininity through a mythological lens, I critique the polarized pressure placed on women to fulfill roles of both creator and destroyer (and, by proxy, good and evil). I find this pressure unsurprisingly rampant in the female roles that are recycled throughout horror cinema. At my disposal are the archetypes of psychotic mother, crazy ex, floozy, and every other clichéd role in between. Last but not least, pop culture provides a fresh lens to re-examine these not-so-new ideas. I look to iconic moments and figures throughout recent years to understand contemporized versions of longstanding narratives.
Through my vignettes of femininity, I imbue autonomous power into the characters I create, who are a conflation of myself, my mother, my grandmother, my sister, Eve, Medusa, Mommie Dearest, Britney Spears circa 2007, and possibly every other woman I’ve ever met or admired. I intentionally showcase sloppy, clumsy, or destructive moments in order to validate all that is antithetic to female composure (erraticism, mania, absurdity, rage and lunacy).