Term of Award

Spring 2008

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Department

Department of Art

Committee Chair

Elizabeth Jane Pleak

Committee Member 1

Julie McGuire

Committee Member 2

Marc Moulton

Abstract

Life is one beauty pageant after another. There is always competition, be it physically or mentally. Societal rules have always determined the constructions of gender both accepted and taboo. My research explores how these social constructs pertaining to sexuality began and how they have been perpetuated throughout history in art. Because of my personal struggles with social constrictions as a woman, an artist, and as one whose sexual identity has been designed from these social constructs, I have explored women's roles as artists: how women and their sexuality have been portrayed in the past through artworks using various media; how the viewers of these artworks saw the women that were portrayed and society's reactions to these works of art. My intent here, and in my work, has been to focus on the construction and constrictions of female sexuality, beauty, and competition. I will also be discussing the role of sexuality as content in ceramics and how the influence of ceramic objects from history and the contemporary world has had on my own artwork. My interest also includes how western religious aspects control our sense of our bodies, the vagina for example, as the yawning mouth of hell (Blackledge, 51) and how these ideas form the construction of womanhood.

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