Ruby Barry

Artist Catalogue

Virtual Exhibition

cute not critical

This is my bedroom. In my bedroom we play dress-up (i.e. try on my mom’s chicken fillets). We play Sims, Stardoll and MoshiMonsters. We watch Avril Lavigne music videos and google “Zack and Cody kiss”.

Bring your fake phone and your clip-clop shoes. We’ll play grown-up grown-up and fall in love. 

Situated in the bedroom, cute not critical allows for a sense of privacy from the observing world, offering a space to be un-witnessed. In some girlhoods, a bedroom becomes a sanctuary to romance and nurture one’s interiority – accommodating being alone with oneself. A space to untangle and re-tangle mess.

I’ve heard stories about my dad’s childhood bedroom walls - filled with clippings from car magazines and Vogue. I’ve scavenged through my mom’s wooden kassie filled with report cards, love letters, precious envelopes, stamps, and photographs. These confined spaces reflect the mess of childhood, current interests, and future aspirations.

The digital age has ushered in platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr, where users curate their interiority through folders and grids, akin to bedroom wall decorations. Visual collections of a girl’s interiority are mediated by functions that allow users to gather (through discovery features) ‘saved’ and self-produced content. This collected information reflects current interests, inspirations, and memories.

I am interested in exploring the language of collecting and layering, characterised in analogue bedrooms, and its visual and archival parallels with digital folders featured on Instagram.

The messy girl is advocated for, where ‘mess’ and ‘slut’ become synonymous. The imaginings of a contemporary slut are compiled within the digital archives I have collected for my practice. Mess becomes a visual language to form clumsy and haphazard traces between the absurd images of digital archives and analogue memories. It is in the re-imagining of the saved posts folder as an archival equivalent to a bedroom that invokes the internal and social dialogues of one’s inner child’s, inner adult.

Here, adult/mature data is processed with playfulness, irony and sentimentality that generates a feedback loop - a methodology of input & output to form digital & analogue collections. This becomes a way to process the intimacy of girlhood as an adult.