Term of Award

Spring 2012

Degree Name

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

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Department

Department of Art

Committee Chair

Patricia Carter

Committee Member 1

Patricia Carter

Committee Member 2

Patricia Walker

Committee Member 3

Julie McGuire

Abstract

"Skin Deep: The Elusive Aphrodite" explores women's body image issues influenced by a variety of sources, with the most common culprit being mass media's portrayal of "beautiful" women in current American culture. The artworks in this series create a dialogue with the viewer about varying definitions of women's beauty by using a variety of women as models for either hand-made paper body casts, or for large-scale, emotionally-charged, representational portraits. The concept of ideal beauty is alluded to by the Venus or Aphrodite-inspired positions within the portraits, while the detrimental effect of the pursuit of an often-unattainable image of perfection are revealed through expressive paint applications or symbolic patterns that appear within the composition. Juxtaposed to the paintings and sculptural body casts is an army of uniform, golden cast paper mannequins, marching oppressively towards the viewer, their artificial bodies threatening to inevitably consume their individual, unique body types.

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