High Kicks Into the Light Forever and Ever and Ever is a new video installation by Vancouver-based artist Elizabeth Milton. Composed of a series of immersive projections that explore performative ritual and material play, the work revolves around a procession of participants meditating under the hot glow of a spotlight. Drenched in identical heavy make-up and lacquered in artificial sweat and tears, a series of ‘women’—disembodied faces displaying exaggerated markers of high femininity—form a fevered chorus-line for the camera. Melting under the heat, the performers’ make-up is a tenuous composition, eventually smeared away in a gesture of (choreographed) self-effacement.
What is constructed fades, or rather, is obliterated. The make-up, so recognizable as an overstatement of gendered subjectivity, becomes a kaleidoscopic abstraction on white linen, acting as both colour field and performance document. Alongside sequences of props, costumes, and the garish refuse of novelty-store glamour, the images disarm assumptions of a composed subject, and point to the possibility of transcendence, an ecstasy in glitter.
Elizabeth Milton is a Vancouver-based performance and media artist who utilizes character-play to investigate constructions of identity and affective expression. Her work has been exhibited throughout Canada and developed through residencies at Access Gallery, Vancouver and the Banff Centre. Her recent performances and exhibitions have taken place at VIVO Media Arts Centre, the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Nanaimo Art Gallery. Milton holds an MFA in Studio Art from the University of British Columbia and a BFA in Visual Art from Simon Fraser University. She instructs courses in Studio Art at the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University and Langara College.