Many of the artists I researched for the last project have continued to influence my ideas in the FMP.
I discussed the work of Emily Roysdon in relation to my concept of gender identity. Roysdon’s Wojnarowicz series examines the experience of a queer feminist woman in the 21st century. I was inspired by the mixing of genders (male mask, female body). The sharp black and white of the mask stands out amid crowds, and serves to de-personalise and remove any identity from the figure. In one intimate image Roysdon lays seductively on her bed but the mask interrupts this openness and stops dead any connection for the viewer. In another Roysdon sits on her bed topless. The male face contrast sharply with her naked breasts. When we look down we see that she is wearing mens underwear.
Vanessa Omoregie is a young British artist and member of all female art collective Bunny Collective. Her series Cam Girls juxtaposes classical paintings of female nudes with modern webcam images of naked girls recreating the poses. The interactive work called for submissions of selfies from women. Omeregie describes the work as “Opening up discussions about the ‘online girl’ as a muse and subject and how the cyber lens shapes her image.” Many of her projects explore the relationship between young girls, cameras, computers and cyber-space. It sparks interesting considerations of the difference between art and selfie portraits, online interactions, voyeurism and privacy, and the role of the female nude. In many discussions about feminist principles a point that recurs is the need for greater respect for women’s right to choose. Whether they choose to shave their legs or not, to have casual sex or stay with one partner, to pursue a career or have a family, all of these choices deserve equal respect – something that is currently lacking in our society. In a world where media constantly surrounds us with sexualised marketing and objectified images of women there is also a huge contradiction in the judgements passed on women. While this sexualisation and apparent promiscuity is promoted within advertising and music videos ‘real’ women are often condemned for behaving in a similar way. Yet these actions may often be a result of feeling like they do not match up to these idealised expectations. Equally it could simply be a result of a woman simply being comfortable wth her own body and sexuality, yet if it does not fit the narrow ideals promoted by the media then they often mocked and abused for it. Omoregie’s Cam Girls expands the discussion beyond the smut of pornography and displays more common, realistic body types. Opening what is usually a private discourse to the public domain gives the viewer a relatable insight into the privacy of womens bedrooms and bodies in various states of undress.
Linder takes images from magazines and pornography, usually of women or couples, and juxtaposes them with found photographs of flowers and domestic products. Many of these photo-montages feature cut, spliced, torn and burnt elements.The subject returns again and again to the nude female form, eyes and domestic items. These combinations are a subversive appropriation of symbols of feminine ideals in media culture. The emphasis on the eyes reminds me of John Berger’s observations on the role of women in art. In his TV series “Ways of Seeing” he states “Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at. This determines not only most relations between men and women but also the relation of women to themselves. The surveyor of woman in herself is male: the surveyed female. Thus she turns herself into an object – and most particularly an object of vision: a sight.”
If we remove the terms relating to gender and replace them with subject (ourselves/woman) and viewer (our friends or followers/ man) then this statement could be interpreted similarly to explain our behaviour when we use social media.