04/05/2012 09:21 am ET | Updated Apr 05, 2012

Janet Werner's Grotesque Pinups In "Earthling" (PHOTOS)

Sometimes after flipping through a magazine full of Photoshopped models and airbrushed celebs, confronting the mirror as a (gasp!) regular person can make a woman feel like a monster. Painter Janet Werner plays with this tension in order to show how sometimes the quest for beauty can produce ugly results.

The works spring from the ruthlessness that is reserved for women seeing and judging themselves and each other. Some body parts bulge out while others contort inward, resembling the brutal eye of an insecure adolescent when she looks in the mirror, seeing every little imperfection balloon into an Elephant Man-esque display. Werner's characters are mostly posing, hiding or crying, presenting a melancholy view of the ideal female.

The paintings are fashion editorials with a touch of Picasso's "Demoiselles d'Avignon." Some of her subjects look like botched plastic surgery patients while others look like they just beamed in from another planet. Yet even in all their upfront ugliness there is something undeniable attractive about Werner's leading ladies. Maybe ugly is the new beautiful after all...

Janet Werner's "Earthling" will show at Parisian Laundry from March 29 until April 28.

What do you think, readers? Let us know in the comments section below.

(Warning: There is some nudity displayed in a few paintings, so we suggest that you not click through this in front of a prim boss or co-worker.)

janet werner


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