Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2017

Author's School

Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts

Author's Program


Degree Name

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)




A large number of modern and contemporary female artists have employed the state of becoming to either free themselves of or challenge the social norms that come with being a woman. Kara Walker frees the Mammy of her expectation by combining her with a sphinx in her monumental sugar sculpture, A Subtlety. The Guerilla Girls have an impenetrable and unidentifiable voice when they speak from behind gorilla masks. Lucy Gunning’s The Horse Impressionists depicts women mimicking the behavior of horses to lose their human consciousness, and more specifically, female identity. Looking beyond the art world and into recent consumerist trends, a plethora of women can be seen sporting clothes that say, “I am a unicorn” and “I am a mermaid”. What does it mean that women are attempting to escape their identities? Is “becoming” an act of escapism or resilience? These are the questions my thesis exploration begins to answer.