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Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Visual Art
Restricted Access Thesis
Deconstructing mass media images reveals false and fabricated bodies, desires and ideals. Although performing and experimenting with one’s image can be healthy behavior, my work asks viewers to contemplate our temporal bodies existing within a constructed space of beauty images.
Since the dawn of photography in advertising, the use of the body to sell commodities has evolved from a prop for products into a packaged ideal itself, influencing gender roles and performance, fashion, and socially constructed body images. Advertising photography helps reinforce archetypal stereotypes, and consumers accept these mythologies as social truths.
The myth of the ideal body persists today – media and fashion images (distributed not only by the old avenues of print and tv, but also now through social media) point out our natural bodily failures and convince us that aging bodies are bad. However, they will claim, through these purchases, image applications, and performance, we can suspend our youth and beauty and present ourselves as current and acceptable. If we could consume these images with a more informed and critical perspective, we can lessen their influence. Otherwise, we risk the danger of placing all importance on our outer self rather than our inner self, becoming an image of other regurgitated images.
My artwork focuses on the body’s realities and failures existing within the space of fabricated images. My methods include cut paper collage, the collaged sculptural object and photomontage. Through my practice, I create new kinds of portraits – unresolved, imperfect bodies (or sometimes no body at all) that were created from mythological magazine ideals. They appear as shells of our perfected outer self, hovering in space like identity daydreams. The images could be seen as memory vignettes that were played out on our own personal stage; or, even a moment existing beyond us, only for our surfaces. The images become their own being, detached from time, troubled with mortality.
Program Director's Department
Graduate School of Art
Coates, Andrea, "Fabricated Images and Bodily Failures" (2015). Graduate School of Art Theses. ETD 36. https://doi.org/10.7936/K70R9MK9.
Available for download on Wednesday, May 15, 2115