Male Gaze

Visual artists traditionally have had the power to say a landscape or woman is beautiful, “and it was so.”  They established the only endearing quality in a body or flower was its beauty.  Then, Mary Cassatt paints the mundane lives of women, and like other impressionist painters, concentrates on the light.  Her work isn’t about flattery but the reality of bodies in a space.  Some of her figures are muddy – they aren’t facing the light, and they’re not engaging the viewer.  Abstract impressionists like Frankenthaler and Joan Mitchell paint and instill importance in non-male emotion.  Frida Kahlo paints vivid accounts of emotional turmoil from a body in physical pain, and Georgia O’Keeffe paints flowers of more than beauty – they are carnal, sexual subjects.  Feminist artists Barbara Kruger and Cindy Sherman challenge the way viewers look at the world and at bodies.  Female visual artists work to shatter assumptions learned through socialization and argue art and lived experience are greater than their “beauty.”
“untitled.” xerox on paper, ink and gouache. 2016. see more of my work in the gallery

 

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