Lexi Strauss is a British multimedia artist whose practice encompasses performance, portraiture, still life, and landscape. She completed a BA in Fine Art at Hereford College (2009–11) and a MA in Painting at the Royal College of Art, London (2012–14). Her artworks combine various narratives to tell surreal, political, and personal stories, often through the lens of humour. Her background in performance makes theatricality important to the narratives she presents. Source inspiration for her practice includes interviews, imagined fictions, and political narratives. More recently, she has incorporated clown/trickster performances into her practice, further exploring the innate playful nature of the Arts and the notion that through absurdity truths can be discovered. Successes include the Jerwood Drawing prize and John Moores Painting Prize, along with being nominated for Saatchi New Sensations (2014) and Shortlisted for New Contemporaries (2013). Strauss also lectures and tutors at Hereford College of Arts and elsewhere in the UK.
Both Hostess (2014) and Tupperware Party (2013) were painted from images found on the internet by artist Lexi Strauss. Tupperware Party is similar to the original found image depicting a breast-feeding businessman, whereas Hostess became completely disconnected from its original context. The stringing-together of images from the internet is a method of narrative-creation for Strauss.
Tupperware Party combines two non-conventional sartorial elements – a suited man with fake breasts containing milk – to create the absurd. It engages with Strauss’ belief that humour can unlock deeper truths, enabling self-understanding and self-improvement. Strauss explains, ‘For me it [humour] seems like a very superior way to communicate anything important, because it sears through so much rubbish. One can quickly get to the heart of things.’ The predominance of blues and greys contrasts with the pink straps of the breastfeeding device, emphasising the tender mixture of masculine and feminine elements. Along with the title, the painting juxtaposes several elements to forge a sense of the Surreal.
Hostess depicts a female pregnant nude, floating in a monochromatic composition. Far from painting a gentle and beautiful expectant woman, the artist depicts a ghostly and irregular figure. She draws attention to the belly and breasts covering them with protuberances, giving the image a disturbing look. The semi-abstract quality of the work creates a borderless-ness between the body and its background, while the haunting figure subverts expectations about the idealised female nude in art.