Mary Alacoque Waters paints portraits and still lifes, using oils on canvas in the style of the old masters of the seventeenth century. Despite that, her art is anything but a remake: on the contrary, it is convincing proof that good art is unrepeatable. Her eye is not the eye of Vermeer, her models have a different gaze, they move differently from the girl with the pearl earring. One thing has stayed the same: what we see is beautiful, successful people and the objects with which they prefer to surround themselves. In a word: lifestyle.
Lifestyle is the starting point for this commercial gallery catalogue of Waters’s work. The individual works are all printed on the first side of the sheet, set carefully in the white space with vertical captions. The other side of the paper is stuffed full of pages from twenty-first-century lifestyle glossies. Real or fake, it makes little difference. Consulting the publishing information at the back reveals that they are genuine, but just looking at the book it is difficult to establish: the printed sheets have been handled in such a way that the verso spreads haven’t been cut open at the tail. The effect is that Waters’s work confronts us head-on in generous spreads, whereas for what is printed on the back we have to squint through sideways. That prevents this editorial trick from degenerating into a blasé juxtaposition of art and advertising.
The rest has been given an appropriate finish, with smoothly glossy paper and a periodical-style format and cover. The explanatory texts have been placed in two sections in a smaller format and coloured paper. The result is an art catalogue that not only presents the art but adds an extra layer to it.