Michaela Ben Yehuda’s works primarily explore the concept of “the icon” in 21st century America. Working primarily in acrylics, she focuses on portraiture not only as a response to the American Pop Art movement of the 60s, but also as an inspection of media, authorship and mass culture today.
Utilizing found images selected from the infinite gallery provided by the web, she incorporates layers of creativity and technique from anonymous sources within her frame of work. Each painting and drawing makes use of imagery, iconic stances and facial expressions captured and sourced from online media, often borrowing or duplicating existing digital shots taken from unidentified creators. The end product depicts vibrantly colored and photogenically distinct entertainment figures, such as pop singers, actors and actresses, athletes and most entertaining today - political figures. Along with the distinctive pigments selected for each work, intended to attract initial glances from viewers, each painting strives for instant recognition by the viewer who is equally determined to associate the right individual to the portrait. This relationship between the artwork and the audience ultimately hopes to question how the Internet has altered the meaning of creativity, originality and mass culture.