Stained Glass Museum acquires new contemporary artwork by artist Pinkie Maclure
(5 Mar. 2024)

The Stained Glass Museum has expanded its collection of contemporary works with the recent acquisition of Beauty Tricks (2017), a stained glass artwork by Scottish artist Pinkie Maclure.
The acquisition was made possible thanks to funding from Art Fund and The Arts Council England/V&A Purchase Grant Fund.

Beauty Tricks is a commentary on notions of beauty, body image and representation in modern society. It was made in 2017 by Pinkie Maclure (b. 1966), a contemporary Scottish multidisciplinary artist and musician based in Argyll, Scotland.

Maclure’s artworks explore a range of personal and contemporary social issues including addiction, insomnia, and humanity’s destructive nature often in relation to the environment. Beauty Tricks speaks to contemporary issues including body image, eating disorders and body dysmorphia, surgical modification, the cosmetic industry, fast fashion, capitalism and the environment.

Beauty Tricks (2017) depicts a young blond-haired woman wearing a decorative pink dress and purple cloak. Her arms are outstretched in a pose deliberately mimicking an image of the Virgin Mary known as the Madonna of Mercy from an Italian Renaissance altarpiece. Yet this religious icon is transformed by Maclure into a contemporary image of a willing victim of the beauty and fashion industry, with a halo of Botox needles and scalpels, and her torso marked for plastic surgery. The vivid bright blue, pink, yellow and purple colour palette is an unusual combination in stained glass, but deliberately chosen by the artist to reference not only the Virgin Mary but also the so-called colours of femininity.

Around this central image are various images, motifs and slogans associated with the construction and representation of beauty and knowledge, including a young woman shooting at a mirror, a grandma knitting barbie dolls, flowers in various stages of bloom, discarded beauty products, palm trees and snails (from which ingredients for some beauty products are derived). The artwork critiques the human and environmental impact of the beauty industry and the pressure women sometimes place on themselves and each other.

Jasmine Allen, Director of the Museum said: ‘We are delighted to have acquired this contemporary stained glass artwork with the generous support of Art Fund and the Arts Council/V&A Purchase Grant Scheme. Beauty Tricks is a visually compelling and seductive work which continues the long-standing tradition of storytelling in stained glass, and explores themes of beauty, judgement and self-worth, inviting us to reflect on a range of issues. It is a wonderful addition to our growing collection.’

Beauty Tricks was made in 2017 for an exhibition entitled Art of Glass, held at the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, and presented in partnership with The National Centre for Craft & Design, 6 April – 16 September 2018. It was shortlisted for the John Ruskin Prize and featured in their ‘Agents of Change; exhibition in Manchester in 2019. Beauty Tricks was also exhibited as part of Pinkie Maclure’s solo show at the CCA, Glasgow, 17 June – 9 September 2023. It can now be seen on display in The Stained Glass Museum gallery within Ely Cathedral.

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