The photographs of artist Meredith Devine work best as printed matter. There is a realness, a life to her portraits that push against the technology of modern media. For her photo series Painted Ladies, Devine follows a seemingly simple template — a beautiful woman alongside a motorcycle. The woman, her chest painted with the designs from early tattoo flash art and car and motorcycle culture. Each image speaks to another time, the dawn of the American wanderer excited by the horizon of endless highways.
Devine crafts each portrait as a character study — the elements speak to wildness and freedom, an open world. The settings of each Painted Lady play out like an adventurer’s list of destinations. Deep forest and wood, lost valleys and mountain ranges. Devine moves her models beyond walls and beyond cities, the only technology are the motorcycles themselves, each provided by a dedicated rider and restorer of classic bikes.
The Painted Ladies are earthbound goddesses, sexual in nature and powerful in statement. Each of them rides alone. These are portraits of independence and personal destiny. Devine washes away the demands of contemporary American life and rewinds to a land devout to exploration. These Painted Ladies, these goddesses, are totems to the spirit of wandering and adventure.