Mother and Muse – Margo and Theo Selski

Washington-based Margo Selski paints surreal scenes of a neo-Renaissance. Filled with mysterious be-ruffed princesses, white rabbits, royal regalia and strange technology, her style evokes Flemish painting’s glory days. Much of Margo’s current work features this young model:

This is Theo, the artist’s twelve-year-old son, who has been cross-dressing since the age of seven. Margo comments:

Theo is starting to receive a lot of hostility from his peers in our little town in rural Washington about his cross-dressing. He has little control in his world. These paintings are a reminder to him that, although the world around you tells you that you don’t belong, the world around you can change. These paintings give him control.

She has created an entire series, dedicated to Theo, that places him in gorgeous fantasy settings and roles, crowned, holding scepters, often wearing beautiful gowns – all in an effort to empower him during this difficult, disorienting time.

Margo’s artistic celebration of her son reminds me, just a little, of Irina Ionesco’s photos of her daughter, Eva. Though Theo isn’t ever pictured nude, I wonder if Margo might one day see similar criticism: “Are these paintings empowering? Exploitative? Both?” Personally, I think they’re stunning and look forward to meeting both the artist and the muse this weekend.

“Hitherto and Henceforth”, a solo show dedicated to Margo’s recent work, opens this Saturday March 12 at Glass Garage gallery in West Hollywood, with Margo and Theo in attendance. Hope to see you there!

Hit the jump for more images.

10 Responses to “Mother and Muse – Margo and Theo Selski”

  1. Tyler Says:

    Quite wonderful work – incredible love and support in the most beautiful way. Does anyone know if Margo works in the Mische technique? It has a bit of the look about it, but hard to say from these images. Wish I were in LA to see!

  2. chairokuma Says:

    What a wonderful mother and beautiful child! The artwork is breathtaking.

  3. camilla Says:

    I saw some of these at the LA Art Show in January. I thought they were gorgeous, but it’s really wonderful to get some backstory, too!

  4. benn Says:

    Given the background story it’s a bit spooky actually.

  5. hng23 Says:

    The first thing these pictures reminded me of was this: http://underpaintings.blogspot.com/2010/02/random-inspiration-thomas-cooper-gotch.html (The Child Enthroned, by Thomas Cooper Gotch). I believe it is a painting of the artist’s son as Jesus.

  6. Vivacious G Says:

    Oh I love these!

  7. Meredith Yayanos Says:

    These are gorgeous and inspiring as all get out. Thanks, Z. :)

  8. Monsters are Everywhere » Blog Archive » links for 2011-03-10 Says:

    [...] Mother and Muse – Margo and Theo Selski "Theo is starting to receive a lot of hostility from his peers in our little town in rural Washington about his cross-dressing. He has little control in his world. These paintings are a reminder to him that, although the world around you tells you that you don’t belong, the world around you can change. These paintings give him control." (tags: art coilhouse rennaissance paintings) [...]

  9. Blue Stahli Says:

    What a perfect way to demonstrate to her son that there is so much more out there than the difficulty he’s currently facing (which may seem insurmountable to him). Beautiful display of art, creativity and expression as the escape and the celebration. Kudos to Margo Selski.

  10. Kambriel Says:

    I’m so glad to see the exhibit written up here ~ it’s a perfect fit for Coilhouse.

    It’s a deep honour that Theo is wearing the Midnight Bustle ensemble I made for Margo a while back in some of these paintings too. I hope it continues to bring them both inspiration and a feeling of personal empowerment for years to come.

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