Part 5 – Research – Reflection – Exhibitions

Reflective Learning

The challenge for me of Part 5 has been to actively integrate reflective learning into my practice.   As I have noted in my sketchbook and in previous posts I was not using the process effectively and found I was still working in a historically random way.    My experience of taking on an active response via this model has I believe made and enormous difference in the way I have been able to move forward with this final part of Drawing 1.

Walker’s (2004) paper in which he identifies 5 key components of the successful artmaking process namely:-

  • delaying closure
  • risk-taking
  • actively searching for contradictions
  • rejecting the conventional and familiar
  • exhibiting tolerance for ambiguity

has enabled me to work my way through this Assignment 5 in a more productive, structured, thoughtful way. Furthermore Doloughan (2002) articulated this even more usefully , “the language of the creative arts is necessarily metaphoric multi-layered and qualitative and that the rendering of multi-modal projects requires access to a range of meaning making resources.”

Through this more thorough understanding of the process and the self-identification of my own way of seeing the world via my dyslexic aperture has  been further sensitised by the essays in “Drawing Now” (2007). Where it “abandons the resort to appearances presenting instead the use of experience of something..rather seek to experience what is NOT visible – the invisible or the unbeseen“. (p xiv)

These thoughts have led me back to a piece that I read a while ago and might even have been responsible for my continuing absorption with the female body and my own body experience.  Young (2005) Throwing Like a Girl: a Phenomenology of Feminine Body Comportment, Motility and Spaciality connected me to a very personal experience of being thought of as a tom-boy, too physical, too strong, too….   Young seeks to “begin to fill a gap that thus exists in both existential phenomenology and feminist theory.   It traces in a provisional way some of the basic modalities of feminine body comportment, manner of moving, and relation in space” (p 30) This is something that I had instinctively understood but never seen articulated and certainly not understood that philosophers such as Merleau-Ponty (M-P)(1962) and Beauvoir (1942) brought together “combining the insights of the theory of the lived body (M-P) and the theory of the situation of women as developed by Beauvoir.

Way way back in my life around 1985 I had been developing a 3D tapestry piece based on the Beauvoir quote – “one is not born a woman but one becomes one”.   The structure of this was based on the childhood paper fortune telling game:-

Each section of the piece was to be a different life choice which a woman could take.   It was to be enormous, more than life size and incorporating actual objects (including dolls) as well as other paraphernalia.   A strong clash of ideas with art department staff saw that this piece or the completion of my degree was not realised.   Looking back, with the insight of time I can now see that even at that stage 1980s in an art college setting my non-conformity (being married with 3 children) and having ideas of my own caused strong responses.

Reconnecting with myself and these thoughts and recognition that the body, my body has its own story to tell.   I was particularly struck by a connection to understanding that “Feminine bodily existence is an inhibited intentionality, which simultaneously reaches towards a projected end with an “I can” and withholds its full bodily commitment to that end in a self-imposed “I Cannot”. (Young p 36) My choice of shapewear the modern equivalent of corsets (see Kardashian Korset) is the most recent fashion manifestation of this phenomenon.

Phenomenon and phenomenology are new concepts for me to consider in relation to my subject matter.  Particularly I am drawn to the discussion “M-P claims that the reason we are apt to forget phenomena…and (he) conceives of “perception as a movement from what is ambiguous and indeterminate to what is determinate, squarely located in the shared world and so available to others” (Romdenh-Romlux p 18)  through his interpretation of Husserl’s Libenswelt or lived world. Furthermore “He claims that complete objectivity is never fully achieved in perception either – I cannot view the world from nowhere.   I always perceive the world from my own particular perspective”. (R-R)  Without going headlong into the various philosophical debates, which as yet I have no depth of understanding.  I think I am at a cross-roads in which I am  finally enabled to engage in connecting to my own phenomenon – not with complete understanding, in fact after a lifetime of trying I believe I can let go of that one.   What interests me is the place/places/spaces/experience between. (see personal statement)

Feminist Visual Culture

Summarising the understanding of 30 years of “feminist struggles around representation” (Betterton (2003) concludes that we are:-

  • aware of how gender shapes looking and the “gaze”
  • understand terms like “gender” and “patriarchy”
  • a certain reflexivity in the representation of self
  • a willingness to explore issues of identify and difference
  • an interest in and engagement with body politics
  • an ability to “read against the grain” of a given text

Interesting historically and personally as it fits entirely with my own timeline. Furthermore re-reading Wolf (1990) I am not sure how much has moved on.

“Gender is not passively scripted on the body, and neither is it determined by nature, language, the symbolic, or the overwhelming history of patriarchy.   Gender is what is put on, invariable, under constraint, daily and incessantly, with anxiety and pleasure, but if this continuous act is mistaken for a natural or linguistic given, power  is relinquished to expand the cultural field bodily through subversive performances of various kinds”. (Butler 2003)

But I remain sceptical about whether the gaze has now sucummed to becoming a more dominant female gaze as in the world of the internet and the incessant “selfies” loaded obsessively on-line. A recent article by Kate Maltby (2016) in the Times describes spending 30 days “winched into a “waist trainer”.

training corset

“It is not my naked body that feels like a false reflection in the mirror, but the new costumes I wear above it.   If I can’t wear my favourite wrap dresses again, I won’t be me.   Or at least I won’t have the right armour to take on the world“.

“I felt elegant too…I felt something far more darkly feminine: fragility…Pair it with that other engine of the beauty myth, high heals, and a gust of wind will blow you away.”

So in a way women have, if they allow themselves, come full circle back to the 1830s when women first saw representations of the “ideal woman” in advertisements and magazines. Difference, irregularity, disability, age, flaws, ……are all banished to another land, another stratosphere: is the parallel world of the lived experience of the majority of women.

Artists –

Portraying a Nation: German 1919 – 1933  August Sander & Otto Dix – Tate Liverpool

The most significant part of pairing these two artists/photographer was the way that the presentation of the exhibition’s contextualised the work.   Sander’s epic People of the 20th Century commanded most of his life and remained unfinished on his death.  He stated:-

” I cannot show (my work) in a single photo, nor in two or three..after all, they could as well be snapshots.   Photography is like a mosaic that becomes synthesis only when presented en masse”.

So of the 144 images presented we see a snapshot of a changing Germany between the wars.   This is augmented by a extensive timeline covering, historical, social, technological, and cultural events.    Not only is this useful for placing the Sander’s work but becomes an essential part of understanding when you move into the Otto Dix galleries.

However before leaving the Sander’s work I wanted to note how this sense of working in series and over time had begun to influence what I have been looking at in my own work.


Otto Dix – The Evil Eye

War Prints and Brothels

There seems to be a direct connection, particularly through theme, war and degenerate life, between the print works of Dix and Goya.   The same gritty realism extended towards the grotesque and absurdity of life. They are more “in your face” than Goya’s prints more explicit and raw.   Perhaps they echo the fact that people had more direct experience particularly of war in Europe and the ability of technology through photography to see more of the reality of the experience.

1924.039-HouseDestroyed-sm House Destroyed by Aerial Bombs 1924

In this print particularly, I see a pre-curser to Picasso’s Gernica some 20 years later. The composition, bodies, buildings and desolation built into a very dense and unremitting image. Body parts, garments what’s the difference? In war none.

DixKarsch101IIaSailorsAntw

Also I couldn’t pass up the chance to notice how much some of the prints resemble Paula Rego’s  figures and compositional relationships.

Moving onto a different material he manages to seize the grotesque and the delicate when working with watercolours and other drawing media – mostly ink.  some of the images are as brutal as the prints – mostly focusing on women, probably prostitutes but not all.

girl in fur Girl in Fur 1923 – watercolour and pencil

Many like the painting above are rendered very simply in technique but retain the edge of pastiche and mocking towards his subjects.

The interesting contrast are the fully rendered portraits on which he worked in oil and a very historical technique of tempera.   In many of these he creates an extremely refined surface quality full of detail and realistic features. However he also extenuates his subjects even when dealing with some of the major industrialists of the time.

th (5) anita berber

th (6)    th (7)

I am drawn to Dix’s work because of the way he seemed to excavate the different layers of society and experience using very particular artistic methods.   It is like the layers of experience of the nation built up and finely finished (although wholesomely extended) by the most particular of materials – tempera.

His work is the very epitome of his time – an evil eye – I don’t think so – an accurate eye.

Kathe Kollwitz – Ikon Gallery – Birmingham

Unemployed

Unemployment – late 1909

Etching, aquatint, sandpaper, soft ground with the imprint of Ziegler’s transfer paper, printed in brown on copperplate paper.

The above print was part of a series taken from drawings she had prepared for the satirical magazine Simplicissimus others of which included, alcoholism, unwanted pregnancy and suicide.   So this was part of the strong socially aware perspective of  which she wrote:-

“above all to be able to speak to a large audience is what always excites me and I can never get enough of it: the many silent and noisy tragedies of life in the big city”. 

She was responding to Berlin, a growing metropolis of some 2+million people.

I have chosen this image particularly because for me it articulates so much about Kollwitz the artist and printmaker.   Firstly the fascinating explanation of the process and materials used to create this one image.   She had little training but seemed to have built up enormous expertise bringing to life this complex scene. Everything from the subtle tones where almost no marks are apparent to the dense figure of the husband in the foreground.   The delicacy of the children’s faces and the spare linear marks elsewhere combine to form a complex story in the lives of poor urban workers.

kk 2 Raped 1907-9

From around a similar time this other dramatic and disturbing subject is both sensitively and brutally rendered – from the foreshortened body to the detail of the garden where the event too place.   And not noticed by me until pointed out a child looking at her mother over the garden fence.

There are of course the amazing meticulous self-portraits as well as the Goyaesque (Satanic series) “Death and the Mother” prints where using herself and her son as models she cast her unflinching eye on these subjects.  Not a very large exhibition there are a few examples of her raw woodcuts but no examples of her sculptural works which I have never seen.

What I have brought away from this experience is the appreciation of her skill of using print techniques in a range of different ways from the most subtle to angry aggressive depictions of the lives of the working poor. Although much of this work predates the Dix war prints her subjects speak in their quiet acceptance of  mostly women who wait and endure and mourn.

Paula Rego – Jerwood Gallery – Hastings

Going to the Jerwood is always a joy because of its location almost on the beach and the interrelationship between the gallery and the view: the beach, fishing boats and sea.   I was looking forward to viewing this Paula Rego exhibition of some of her newer works based on The boy Who Loved The Sea.   Unfortunately I was disappointed in the drawings/paintings related to this particular theme.  The works are large and mostly drawn with pastels, ink, coloured pencils and I think watercolour.    With deference to her age – now well over 80 – I found that they have lost the vigour of her previous work – although the themes and compositions were her usual bold forms the work was flatter and lacks the dimensions of her earlier work.

I am glad to say that there was also a selection of her Jane Eyre prints which are magnificent  and earlier – 2003.

They appeal because of their depiction of strong and physical women which is interpreted with deep tones, exquisite drawing translated into the printed form.   The weight of her figures draw me in with the texture and movement of their garments.

Equally fascinating are a series of drawings done quite recently after she suffered a fall and had a wound on her forehead.

These are strong insightful, honest drawings.   I enjoy their raw, angry, self deprecating quality.

Then finally there is a series called “Depressed” drawn during a period in 2007 when she literally drew herself out of her depression.   Again the honesty, stark quality beautifully and simply rendered in pastel, crayon and pencil.

N.B. Pallant House in Chichester currently have an exhibition of Paula Rego sketchbooks which I will go to see but probably not before this Part 5 is assessed.

Francesca Woodman

Somewhere in the back of my mind as I was working on my images I remembered work by Francesca Woodman. This influential but tragically short lived photographer working in the 70s I believe had a huge impact on more recent photographers.  In Francesca Woodman reconsidered (2003) a discussion which included Laura Larson commenting that “Woodman’s work is useful for feminism precisely because it breaks the male gaze stranglehold by articulating a different set of terms”.  But unlike the narrative aspect that Mulvey (1974) was referring to with film Woodman works engages with “seriality and repetition”. 

Also she notes that “I was reminded of Woodman’s work when I saw the Hans Bellmer show….not only for the use of seriality and repetition but also its performative aspect”.

The connection and their conversation in the article about surrealism brings my thinking full circle back to my doll parts and the perception of women in parts.  Margaret Sundell notes in the article how she tries to understand woodman’s two poles – fetishization and space.“The interest in space is very much about a bodily experience, which engages phenomenology and its limitations, and the interest in fetishization is very much about the disembodiment involved in producing oneself as a two-dimensional image – even if the body remains the subject of the image.”

Their discussion ends with a question which I am left with and my own questions about where I would like to go with my work.

Moving Forward

Whether I get a chance to do/have these photographs taken or not before I submit this part of the course I don’t know.   But throughout the development of my ideas I have been eager to create a series of photographs of myself naked in relation to a particular row of trees in my local park.

This would be a very Woodman/Mendieta performative experience.   I have in mind various poses that literally truncate my body by the low branches and trunks of the trees which my the way are very resonant with the original Redon drawing which we were asked to consider at the beginning of the course.

two-trees-1875

 All these months on my relationship to this drawing has changed and deepened and follows the experience of my journey through the course. I now see very a very physical phenomenological relationship to these trees which I see most days.

Did a very fast reveal today but did not have long but wanted to post something in the genre of what I have been thinking about in relation to my body, space, performance, series, ageing, skin etc.

trees 7

Afterwards we did a few clothed “ideas” for the future.   However in some cases I think that they capture their own relationship of me in the space.

trees 3

Unfortunately the lack of time/opportunity and experience meant that I was not able to capture yet that quality of my ageing skin and self that I want to see in relation to these trees and their natural form.    I think I definitely need to be bolder and raw and not try to pose in the “accepted” way.

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Moving on with the Different Approaches

  1. Building the Belly

Built 2 versions of the collapsing belly – see sketchbook for details – using as few layers of imitation Japanese paper as possible.   First wast 3 layers with paint on outside and the second one below with just 2 layers with some pre-marking of paper with oil pastel impressions.

belly 2 layers plus oil pastel imprint

In terms of texture and flexibility prefer the second example above but the marks plus the red ink are too brutal I think for this “skin”.   The collapse quality is good and could try to build one with just one layer to see if that would be sustainable.

Outcome

  • structurally successful
  • surface quality needs work an deeper consideration
  • mark making should be more specific and thought through

2. Theatre of Skin

Built the theatre with slots at the side and above in order to introduce the different layers – using the similar layers to the 3D version in the sketchbook.

 

workboard 30 October

View of the work-board at the beginning of this week (30 October)

3. Impressions of Surface

frottage on tracing paper

Frottage on Tracing Paper using some of the images/silhouettes from building the theatre.

4. Enlarging/Scaling/Layering

Just as I was about to embark on looking at the 4th part of this developing series I had a life-class last night.   Had prepared the ground with inks and was determined to follow my own path rather than do a nice drawing.    Something shifted in my willingness to experiment and “find the drawings” – the longest pose was 20 minutes but maybe that is good as I don’t get to overwork the pieces which I have a tendency to do.

Following the class I had a nagging memory of a particular artist/photographer Francesca Woodman whose evocative images have a quality of memory/decay/disturbance/layering that I want to capture through my layers.

(Additional piece worked on ink dyed upholstery linen with linen thread)

stitched crouched figure

Realise I have a current list in my head of interesting artists/photographers who include Kiki Smith, Sally Mann and Cathie Pilkington.

Kiki Smith – drawings visceral and working from the inside out.

Sally Mann

Cathie Pilkington

Latex and Layers of Skin Sketch

4 – Layers of skin with latex layers

latex layer 1

The detail of the marks and the negative and positive space feel strong.   Using the simplicity of mainly one colour but in different ways i.e. pen, brush, .   also where the latex has been laid on but the ink has found its way through has expressive simplicity.

Very hesitant moving onto the next layer – very ambivalent feelings of covering, or spoiling the original image.    Anxiety around not knowing what is next although I had planned to work through 7 layers of this process.   Is it about trying to get through a barrier – or about the endless pressure to “make a nice picture” .

It is the pre-birth with the torso – corseted and the child free floating in the middle. Does the baby have arms here?  But the mother remains headless.

latex layer 2

Now looking more like a dirtied day/tea literally dress from the Edwardian period with the Suffragette’s banners of BULLDOZE and STUBBORN emblazoned across the chest. The child to the right is almost totally obliterated as a blotch of grey – her facial features non-existent.  the pure white of the first layer has been obliterated and have used walnut ink for the detail.

The longer I lived with this more more significant this felt to me.   The strong sense of issues being over-layed and over-layered as well as the positive and negative spaces being used.   This together with the marking and obliteration of marks – shapes, images, letters, words is beginning to resonate about the fragments of memory real and imagined as well as  thinking about that which survives, in terms of photographs and family stories.

Does what is important get remembered, imaged? Or is it totally random?

Moving onto the next layer is again a struggle as I am again emotional about loosing aspects of the drawing as if it is loosing aspects of myself – instead of shedding the layers of skin I am building up the layers of skin/story/camouflage/shell.

This time I am concentrating on the “Mother” body – relaxing back and headless – feet towards the viewer.  Across all the examples I wanted to lift the textural quality of the pieces (realising even with the “frottage” (See research Max Ernst) I have not used different textures.   Created a monoprint which I uses across most of the sketches

mother layer

These two monoprints flank the main layering sketch.

mother plus mono prints

Additionally 4 different sketches in the sketchbook working into the texture/around the textures in different ways.

There is a more robust quality to these not only from the texture of the paint itself but the way it does and doesn’t take up the ancillary material. The fight to gain image or not has a visceral reaction

Note to self:- what is the question

Which part of the investigation am I pursuing – what is the next question.

Part 4 Bibliography –

Betterton, Rosemary, 1996. Intimate Distance. 1st ed. London: Routledge.

Carson, Fiona, & Pajaczkowska, Claire 2000. Feminist Visual Culture. 1st ed. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Cumming, Laura, 2009. A Face to the Wold: on self-portraits. 1st ed. London: Harper Collins.

Hall, James, 2014. The Self-Portrait: A cultural History. 1st ed. UK: Thames & Hudson.

Kemp Martin & Wallace, Marina (2000), Spectacular Bodies, 1st ed, London, Hayward Gallery

Marion Young, Iris, 2005. On Female Body Experience. 1st ed. New York: Oxford University Press.

Saunders, Gill, 1989. The Nude: a new perspective. 1st ed. London: The Herbert Press Ltd.

Sennett, Richard, 1996. Flesh & Stone. 1st ed. London: W W Norton & Company Ltd.

Simblet, Sarah, 2001. Anatomy for the Artist. 1st ed. London: Dorling Kindersley.

Webb, Peter, 2004. Death, Desire & The Doll. 1st ed. UK: Solar Books.

Woodall, Joanna, 2005. Self-Portrait: Renaissance to Contemporary. 1st ed. London: National Portrait Gallery.

Project 4 – Research – Self-portraits

In my sketchbook I have looked at elf-portraits by many artists from the “early masters” to early 20th century painters in order to try to understand the cultural, visual, and historic context of the work.

Contemporary Artists:- Jenny, Saville, Chuck Close, Lucien Freud, David Hockney, MarleneDumas, Elizabeth Peyton,

David Hockney – it seems like over the decades Hockney has investigated a huge variety of mark making and tonal qualities.   From his early line based drawings through more tonally based paintings and onto rather flat surface images – particularly with his use of the ipad.

Lucien Freud – was always essentially a mark maker whether in drawing or using the paint as mark and.  It almost feels like he hollows/chisels out the paint making very stark lines though the use of tone.

Chuck Close – has developed over time to produce his wonderfully colourful pixilated paintings which upon inspection are more and more complex.    The build up of the contours via the method of intricate filling in of each square/rectangle.  An amazing colourist.

Marlene Dumas – as discussed early she tends to us a rather flat tone throughout her drawings/paintings concentrating on the features as if penetrating the surface of the face.  Line is minimal.

Jenny Saville – Her very complex drawings and patintings often allude to multi-view images with surface layered on surface to create the depth and tones.   Drawing seems to be very traditional in her approach the compositions making them very contemporary in their structure and context.

juggling babies

I don’t know or don’t want to know what the title of this painting is but I call it “Juggling Babies” it is very reminiscent for me of the experience of motherhood – which is far from the idealised Madonna and child. I particularly like how she incorporates the painting with drawing adding to the density and energy of the image.

elizabeth peyton

Elizabeth Peyton describes her faces with flat application of line.  Tones in the main are implied rather than shown. There is a directness about the gaze that she produces from her sitters.

 

 

Part 4 – Project 4 – Structure – Research

Decided to start a separate Anatomy Book and am working my way through the studies.

project 4 exercise 1 structure anatomy book 1

 

anatomy book 2

 

anatomy book 3

Not always using my body but building up different ways of depicting.

knees

head etc

hands

arm

Historic & Contemporary

da vinci Da Vinci

el greco 2 El Greco

clemente susini wax  clemente susini Clemente Susini (1754 – 1814)

mueck  mueck 2 Ron Muerk

gormley  gormley 3 Antony Gormley

body-art-marc-quinn Marc Quinn

uglow  Euan Uglow

 

 

Part 4 – Research – The Nude

In the Beginning…

Early roots via the Greeks with their idealised body forms but where the male figure is nearly always heroic and often the female denoting victim hood (Sanders 1989). However the Greeks thought nakedness mainly attached to nobility whereas by the time Christianity took hold this was attributed to shame or sin – via the biblical story of Adam and Eve. “With the coming of Christianity, bodily suffering acquired a new spiritual value”. (Sennett p 124) He goes onto discuss how the development of Western civilisation and in particular its cities has been hugely influenced through historical eras and their response to the human body – in particular male and female.  “This legacy contains deep internal contradictions and strains…the master image of male nakedness could not fully control or define the clothed bodies of women”. ( p373)  Via the rise of Christianity and the creation of the Venice Ghetto, through the French Revolution  he concludes:- “Lurking in the civic problems of a multi-cultural city is the moral difficulty of arousing sympathy for those who are Other .” (p376 )  He could be describing the UK today with Brexit looming, migrants at our gates and the masses (Grenfell Tower) making their voices heard.

Quoted by Sanders (1989) Aristotle claimed:-

“Man is active, full of movement, creative in politics, business and culture.   The male shapes and moulds society and the world.   Woman, on the other hand is passive.   She stays at home as is her nature.   She is matter waiting to be formed and moulded by the active male principle.” 

In the modern sense “men act and women appear” (Berger 1972)

Throughout the classical period and up until the 19th century the female nude; “may avert her gaze or hide her eyes, or turn away from  the viewer…..Sometimes the head may be covered, or perhaps unfinished , even cut off from the edge of the picture – all these devices render their subject anonymous, denying individuality and status, and reducing the body to a stereotype”. (Sanders  p24)

She further argues that “Women are caught between two conflicting ideologies both founded on male control and definition of female sexuality.   On the one hand there is the pressure to conform to the male ideal of display and availability in order to function in society, and at the same time society expresses its fear of women’s sexuality by teaching women to be ashamed of their bodies, to regard them as both sinful and imprefect”. (Sanders p 132)

Little has changed since 1989 when Sanders were writing.   Now we see much more of women’s bodies but they have become more and more idealised through advertising, social media,  and general availability though mass media culture. A few photographs collected from recent Daily Mail (May 2017) online images.

3F98F9EA00000578-0-image-a-18_1493143714806

An idealised posterior?   Or a subject of debate?

levis-791442

or fashion…. how much to expose or not…

three-graces-clothes

Boticelli (1445 – 1510)

Raphaël_-_Les_Trois_Grâces_-_ Raphael (1483 – 1520) 

Courbet 2

Courbet – The Origin of the World (1866)

From the idealised Renaissance to the realism of the “market” via Courbet.   So over the centuries through the lens that is beauty, gender and power via the cultural experiences of identity, sexuality, politics and history itself women continue to struggle to realise their own reality.    More recently the feminist literature has sought to define “lived experience” as the axiom with which to describe womens’ state (Young 2005).

Trying personally to move forward I was struck by the fly sheet of a book I recently bought:-

feminist culture 001

…to be continued (Carson & Pajaczkowska 2000) (See current sketchbook for further discussion)

Understanding the Body

From the time of Leonardo da Vinci when dissecting cadavers was a criminal act but one that he and many of his Renaissance fellow artists pursued in order to further understand the workings of the human body.

Rembrandt – Madrid

I was lucky enough last year to visit Madrid for the first time and to see the lesser know partial Rembrandt of the lost Anatomy Lesson.   With the foreshortened body similar to Magnata (????) the surgeon is dissecting the skull.

Rembrant anatomy lesson Part of the lost Anatomy Lesson

Rembrant anatomy 2  Rembrant detail (detail)

Bologna Istituto di Anatomia Umana Normale

1 2 4 3

One of the ways that knowledge of the body was learned and shown to the medical profession was via the use of wax models which reached its zenith of creativity in the 18th century.  A little know but wonderful museum in Bologna, now attached to the university is available for viewing as we did about a year ago.   These exquisite sculptures whilst being macabre in a way are very beautiful and worthy of artistic admiration.

Edward Muybridge (1830 – 1904)

EM 1  EM 2  EM 3

And then came the camera.   Muybridge’s iconic work allowed artists and the public to see for the first time how movement actually happened in his extensive studies of the human body.   Whilst I say in movement, actually the men were very active whilst the women photographed were mainly just passively changing position with very demure downcast eyes.

The Fetishised Female

The Fetishised Female a phrase used by Sanders in The nude a new perspective  (1989) looks particularly at the way women’s bodies were truncated, denied heads, arms, legs, certainly faces at times.   This has become something of the norm in media images particularly for advertising.   Recently a bodyform ad has been banned because it concentrates on women’s crutch areas and never shows a whole person.

Bill Brandt (1904 – 1983)

BB 1  BB 2  BB 3

Richard Pearlstein

phillip pearlstein     phillip pearlstein 2

Regain Our Bodies

Jenny Saville

download (2)   download (1)

Writing as a female I am aware that some artists have worked at moving away from the idealised “painted lady”

…Or Not

Euan Uglow

Euan Uglow 1  downloadEuan Uglow 2

Euan Uglow 3  Euan Uglow 4

Whilst for others  you could say that a woman’s body is a prop in an artistic landscape.

Story so far….

At this stage I am not clear what post-feminism is saying to us about the body.   I will continue with my reading of Feminist Visual Culture – although the “signs” are that it is already out of date…..