New York Photo Review
NYPR Archives - 2010

Thumper meets her Match
Marla Rutherford
Cake Knife
Marla Rutherford, Spring Cleaning, 2006

Something sweet and sharp is happening in Cake Knife, the latest exhibition of photography by artist Marla Rutherford. She has unapologetically juxtaposed latex clad women alongside images of self-assured children. By associating the two, using vibrant color photography, the artist examines the psychological ideology behind atypical adulthood fantasy and desires triggered in childhood.

Rutherford’s exemplarily photographic technique lifts this world of fetish out of its indelicate associations to something more of a Superhero aesthetic. Choosing to shoot her subjects like in an advertising campaign, she creates super slick and impeccably lighted scenes, which burst off the paper. Full of moxie, these fantasy women are sexual and powerful. In Thumper a shapely woman wears a pink colored latex short shorts one-piece with bunny ears. Her gaze and pouty lips are suggestive while she strikes a gentle pose. The heroine in Where is Night Crawler stands in the middle of a desolate, cracked concrete landscape, with hands on waist, dressed in skintight black leather, complete with a matching Gimp Mask. Both these subjects, have such a high gloss quality that you can almost hear the ritualistic squeak of latex.

To match these other-worldly deviants, Rutherford employs imagery of defiant and roguish children. In Night Crawler, the viewer is met with the steely gaze of a young blond boy, shirtless, with a thin streak of blood leaking from his nose down his face. The Arrival stages a diapered toddler standing in front of a concrete wall. Its’ impish expression gives the observer an inclination of what may become of the bright red rubber ball at its’ feet.

Pairing ordinary with extraordinary, Rutherford’s bold and glossy series has created imagery that is engaging and complex. Filled with sexuality, confidence and mystery these unorthodox situations will raise eyebrows and leave you questioning what is normal.

 by unidentified photographer.
Marla Rutherford, The Arrival, 2007

Marla Rutherford
Cake Knife

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