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Daena Title

 

Raised on Long Island, lifelong Feminist Daena Title received a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and Theatre Studies from Wellesley College, and then lived in Manhattan until 1991 where she worked as an actress and a writer. Title then returned to painting as the best avenue with which to control her artistic message, mine her ongoing fascination/obsession with the relationship between women and society, and indulge her love of color and design. Her work, which focuses on the powerfully seductive force of modern female icons, has been shown in gallery and museum spaces since 1998, including recent group exhibitions at the Carnegie Art Museum, the Long Beach Art Museum, The Oceanside Museum, the Riverside Museum, the Torrance Art Museum and the LA Art Fair. Title has received critical praise for past solo exhibitions from the Los Angeles Times, the LA Weekly, and the Huffington Post among other publications and is proud that her work has been featured in several PoetsArtists exhibitions and publications, is part of the Brooklyn Museum Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art Online Feminist Art base and the Tullman Collection of Chicago. Title currently resides and works in Los Angeles. 

TITLE’S JUXTAPOSITION BETWEEN JOY AND LUNACY

by Lorena Kloosterboer

Daena Title’s bright, energetic paintings focus on the strong seductive force of contemporary female icons. Loose, powerful brushstrokes and vivid colors help define Title’s fascination with the ambiguous misrepresentation of beauty, feeling particularly drawn to the way heightened expressions of joy can cross a line into an ostensibly distorted or crazy appearance.

Playfully linking personal insights with frivolous visualizations, Title’s intense expressionist pieces adroitly portray aspects of the inescapable love-hate relationship between women, and the consequent impact of those interactions on our self-esteem. By uniting representational and abstract styles, Title aims to break the rules yet remains both playful and honest in her quest to tell a story, offering dramatic, emotional content steeped in a strong dose of irony.

Title’s vibrant painting, entitled Miss Selfie, is part of her Beauty Pageant series which examines to what measure women’s looks are evaluated and judged by the world around them, and why women generally care about their appearance more than men tend to do—and most importantly, what this says about our shared values.

Motivated by her ongoing struggle with women defining themselves and their self-worth in terms of their beauty or lack thereof, Title channels her frustration by examining societal conditioning—in particular, the rivalry promoted by beauty pageants.

Seeking to capture the obvious contradictions, Title finds that these competitions—which value external appearance as the most important quality—both instill confidence and promote a loss of self-worth, and ultimately harm society at large. 

The underlying premise of Miss Selfie—based on a photograph Title took during a televised pageant broadcast—is the fine line between appearing happy and crazy. Scrutinizing the women’s faces, Title asks a lot of probing questions about their true emotions and personal motivations at the time of this event.

Fascinated by the sociocultural and psychological role the selfie plays in today’s society, Title questions why, despite international media attention and knowing this moment will be on view on the Internet for a long time, these contestants still feel the urge to take one. Title suspects the selfie not only validates a specific moment in time, but also links it to an unsatisfactory and perhaps deficient inner life—yet, at the same time, keenly aware her painting is similarly seeking public outward validation of a moment captured inside a moment.