In Sweet Tooth, 2012 (oil on linen, 75 x 75 cm) Halls uses herself as a model in an extravagant pink gown that looks like a cross between a bandage dress and a prom gown with puffed sleeves like overblown rose petals. She wears her hair in a too-elaborate style that seems to encompass pseudo-schoolgirlish plaits complete with garish green bows, Princess Leia style coils, and a cropped fringe; it’s as if she cannot decide which hair pieces to use so uses them all. Her cheeks are doll-like, clumsily rouged. This excess of sugariness and arguably of signifiers that shout ‘femininity,’ this little girl nice made of sugar and spice, could recall the feminist strategy of exaggerating stereotypes in order to dismantle them. Instead, she tips so far that she hinges on the grotesque. Whilst she appears to conform to the expectation that she should smile, she immediately undercuts it by revealing black teeth, rotten from eating too many sweets. Indeed, there’s just a single sweet left on the platter.
Marie - Anne Mancio - Catalogue Essay - No Reserve