'The connection with art history enriches photography's vocabulary, and it is a productive kind of retrospection for a practitioner like Maisie Broadhead, who borrows freely from past art … [her] photographic illusion is rich; each figure, each tint is sympathetically reimagined.' (Hope Kingsley, Seduced by Art: Photography Past and Present, National Gallery, UK, 2012).
Maisie Broadhead re-interprets art historical images and cultural motifs, employing their aesthetic to investigate illusion, the uncanny and the ritual of storytelling. She uses complex set design and costume to re-present historical elements alongside contemporary props and humorous embellishment. By doing so, her images link the past and present and identify enduring aesthetic and social narratives - such as family, the role of women, and the cultural perception of value.
By weaving these visual and thematic elements together, Maisie's images unfold like enigmatic ocular novels; scenes are rich with pictorial clues that point to an underlying story, yet these intimations are not enough to reveal the plot in full. Central characters, played by Maisie's friends and family, are either lost in a moment of quiet distraction or turned towards us, as if our presence has just disturbed them from their thoughts. Ambiguity is a recurrent theme in Maisie's work; 'there is no easy narrative… in the glimpses we have into each other's lives, knowledge is partial, obscured by our own preconceptions.' (Annie Warburton, Through the Looking Glass: Caroline Broadhead and Maisie Broadhead, The National Glass Centre, UK, 2019).
Maisie Broadhead studied Three-Dimensional Crafts at the University of Brighton, before completing an MA in Jewellery & Metal at the Royal College of Art, London, in 2009. In 2013, she was a winner of the Jerwood Makers Open and in 2015 she received a major grant from the Arts Council England for a public commission at the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, UK. Her most recent public commissions have been from the Manchester Art Gallery in 2018 and National Glass Centre in 2019, where her work is held as part of their permanent collection. Maisie has exhibited in major international museum shows, including at the National Gallery, UK; the Fitzwilliam Museum, UK; CaixaForum Barcelona and Madrid, Spain; the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia; and Nationalmuseum, Sweden.