Phebe Schmidt is challenging our perception and digestion of the world around us, one pastel-hued, glossy photograph at a time. The Australia native bears a bold, pop style not unlike the work of Toilet Paper and Maurizio Cattelan, among several other influential contemporary photographers, but the driving force behind Schmidt’s work sets her apart (not to mention her cultivation of equally revolting and seductive imagery). She juxtaposes food with gore, disgust with desire, making the repulsive almost sensual, or tangible—we can nearly taste it—and vice versa. Utilizing the imagery and vocabulary of our digital age as her muse, she challenges every socialized norm from gender to beauty, sexuality to the food we consume. Often composed like glossy product shots, Schmidt perverts and interprets our culture as she sees it and spits it back to us. And as we’ve learned so many times before, it can be hard to look in the mirror.
text by Maddie Maschger