This creative project examines identity, autonomy, and social hierarchy by manipulating the traditions and iconography of female figural painting. Female identity and autonomy is often marked by a tense relationship between the self and the body. Socially acceptable self-expression of one's behavior, body, and desires is strictly regulated within a set of often paradoxical parameters that repress abject, 'animal' behaviors. This series of three paintings reacts to this culture of restraint and repression by exposing the body to nature once more, finding catharsis in annihilation and the destruction of boundaries between the Self and the Other. The human body is depicted as a host for animal life cycles, exploring the duality of creating and supporting life while simultaneously being destroyed. Animals that embody socially unacceptable behaviors are brought crashing back into the human form, reuniting the idealized, contrived female figure with an expressive, imperfect nature and sense of self. Hybridized animal-human relationships in the paintings break down the falsely hierarchical distinction between 'humans' and 'animals' that distances and privileges humanity from that which is considered primitive. By releasing the human body to the uncomplicated consumptive and reproductive forces of ‘trash’ animals in these paintings, the work challenges how the worth of existence is socially defined, instead affirming that all life has some inherent value distinct from its transactional worth to society at large. This celebration of the grotesque shakes off repressive social constructs, offering a unique form of catharsis and agency.
Included in this item (4)
- Annihilation: A BFA Painting Exhibition