The Art Of Maria Kozic
published in Free Life WIth Franchise,
Mambo Publications, Sydney, 1998
chicks and sensitive guys. Neither fit in. They're the side
characters in teen movies, the niche market of the now,
the fodder for any talk about being individual. Many end
up making art. Cliches, perhaps. Icons for sure. But still
there's something there. Some slight sense of difference
which makes them have their mid-life crisis way early.
guys - the chicks dig them bad. Soft little toys with big
lips and foppish hair. They sing like girls. Or like David
Bowie. Pop music would be nowhere without sensitive guys.
It doesn't matter whether what they do is good or bad. The
chicks dig them bad. They want to save them, succour them
like little children. They watch them onstage from a distance.
Up there, spot-lit, they look like flickering swap cards
of collectable dolls.
it. Screwed-up chicks - the guys dig them bad. Jagged little
pills with edgy eyes and messed up hair. They don't sing
like boys: they sing like banshees. That scream outside:
is someone watching PROM NIGHT or is some girl laughing
her head off? Perhaps it's a grrrl band rehearsing. The
guys dig them bad, then start to go sensitive when the screwed-up
chick screws them up. That's the way it goes.
chicks and sensitive guys are normal boys and girls turned
inside out, their interiors exposed, fiercely oxidising.
When guys do this, they start to become chicks. But when
chicks do this, they start to become monsters.
not because they want to.
Kozic was turned inside out a number of times over by the
time she started exhibiting her art in galleries. In the
early 80s, art dudes figured she was a postmodernist with
her fake fur goats, a wall of flowers printed onto free
card samples from a paper supplier, sculptural portraits
of her favourite TV horse stars, giant fuzzy dice. In the
early 90s, art dudes still figured she was a postmodernist.
as if she cared where art was going. Like as if she ate
dinner with people who read books. Maria Kozic does heavy
shit. She has fought with mothers over the last WWF dolls
at a K-Mart sale. ("I was determined to get George 'The
Animal' Steele.") She collects tiny shards of coloured plastic
left in the street car accidents ("They shine like rubies.")
She has what might be the world's most extensive collection
of gross-out dolls and victim toys. ("When you press this
button, pus comes out his nose.") She watches more horror
movies then me. ("I could watch the worms in SQUIRM daily.")
any truly screwed-up chick, the surface of her art is a
garish quilt covering some hairy, sweaty thing that itself
has already been turned inside out. What you see is not
what's there. Her stuff is bright, pop, plastic; she's dark,
pop, plastic. Maria Kozic is like the tenderness of Sandra
Bernhard's cynicism, the energy of SAILOR MOON's naivete,
the beauty of Madonna's aggressiveness, the sexiness of
MY LITTLE PONY's butt. No studies in Popular Culture will
help you out. No art-referencing of Maria Kozic's work will
make it sit still somewhere.
giant inflatable doll, two stories high, bright blue and
gooky. A room full of paintings of tits, sold by weight.
Huge portraits of lifeless dolls sealed in shiny plastic,
they're eyes more morbid than a Keane painting. Garish cartoon
reproductions of 70s macho guys, their brains and eyeballs
splattered. Small things covered in veins, quaking slightly
inside humidicribs. A gigantic billboard of her in bra &
fishnets holding a power drill in one hand and squashing
a G.I.JOE doll in the other. File under Maria Kozic.
chick screaming in her painting THE END. It's the final
frame from Doris Wishman's BAD GIRLS GO TO HELL. Likewise,
Maria Kozic is frozen in the heady beauty of her own hell.
It's a real scream. Screwed-up and turned inside out, she
is the monster of her past - an innocent born of stupid,
violent parents, themselves cast in their own suburban horror
movie. Yet her art is neither confessional nor therapeutic.
No cheap humanism served to go here. Her work doesn't scream
out its pathos - it holds its mouth silently open for you
to feel its breath. Is it kitsch, camp, tack, trash, retro,
ironic? Please. It's more real then you could imagine. It
is the skin of everything that is dark, pop, plastic.