Artist Destroys Wedding Norms With Gorgeously Strange Bridal Portraits

08/01/2014 11:00 am ET

Artist Kimiko Yoshida turns the classic notion of a bride on its head with her series of large-scale photographs taken over a course of years, "Something Blue." Named for the old adage about bridal necessities -- the old, the new, the borrowed and the "something blue" -- the portraits feature Yoshida in various blue-tinged costumes. But instead of looking demure and feminine, as a bride with her sapphire pendant or hint-of-indigo bouquet is expected to, Yoshida could pass for a high profile extra in a Bjork video:

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The Bride With Crown Of Thorns & Cross, 2008, Kimiko Yoshida. Courtesy M.I.A. Gallery.

On display for the month of August at Seattle's contemporary M.I.A. Gallery, the series gives away the premise with its titles. "Bride" is in each one, from The Bride With Crown Of Thorns, above, to the The Blue Yoruma Bride, shown below. The latter references the traditional attire of Nigerian brides, who wrap their heads in the gele, or scarf.

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The Blue Yoruba Bride, Nigeria, 2005, Kimiko Yoshida. Courtesy M.I.A. Gallery.

Yoshida is a hybrid performer -- at once subject, artist and actor. She is the model for each photograph, each time inhabiting a different identity, whether an Egyptian bride or a Spanish one contemplating Picasso.

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The Egyptian Bride Holding A Polished Bronze Mirror, 2005, Kimiko Yoshida. Courtesy M.I.A. Gallery.

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The Torero Bride With A Black Suit Of Lights, remembering Picasso, 2006, Kimiko Yoshida. Courtesy M.I.A. Gallery.

These "playful, mutable brides," contend the gallery notes, are "disconnected from reality and marital norms." The notes link Yoshida's interest in this kind of role play with the transformative power of a single color field: in this case, blue. The effect of monochrome is "disappearance." Yoshida's otherworldly portraits prove the point. Cast in one primary color, any old person -- so colorful in daily life -- becomes a symbol.

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The Kikuyu Bride, 2008, Kimiko Yoshida. Courtesy M.I.A. Gallery.

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The Mao Bride (Red Guard Blue holding the Little Red Book), 2010, Kimiko Yoshida. Courtesy M.I.A. Gallery.

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