Title of Abstract

What Women Are

Submitting Student(s)

Emily CollinsFollow

Faculty Mentor

One WU mentor: Claudia O’Steen, M.F.A.; osteenc@winthrop.edu

College

College of Visual and Performing Arts

Department

Fine Arts

Faculty Mentor

Claudia O’Steen, M.F.A.

Abstract

What Women Are uses both sculpture and photography to show contrasting elements of strength and delicacy within femininity while exploring the concept of voyeurism drawn from classical imagery. The sculptures are made up of steel and fabric. I chose to use steel to portray femininity because I am challenging the notion that women and femininity are seen as a weakness. Instead of using only soft and delicate materials, I use a strong and durable material to represent women. The steel is contrasted with the soft and delicate fabrics, showing how delicacy compliments strength. For my recent sculpture I draw inspiration from the Knidian Aphrodite and its original placement. This sculpture of Aphrodite was set in a temple with columns encircling the nude figure. While studying this imagery, I compared it to a stage-like setup where this nude woman is put on display solely for the pleasure of looking. This brought me to the decision to use red fabric, such as the fabric used for stage curtains, hanging from the ceiling and meeting with the sculpture. My photography continues these visual and conceptual connections. I draw inspiration from Edgar Degas’ paintings titled After the Bath where the viewer is looking in on these women’s lives. However, I have these female subjects look directly at the viewer, gaining control. I also use the fabrics from my own sculptures to create a visual connection between the two.

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What Women Are

What Women Are uses both sculpture and photography to show contrasting elements of strength and delicacy within femininity while exploring the concept of voyeurism drawn from classical imagery. The sculptures are made up of steel and fabric. I chose to use steel to portray femininity because I am challenging the notion that women and femininity are seen as a weakness. Instead of using only soft and delicate materials, I use a strong and durable material to represent women. The steel is contrasted with the soft and delicate fabrics, showing how delicacy compliments strength. For my recent sculpture I draw inspiration from the Knidian Aphrodite and its original placement. This sculpture of Aphrodite was set in a temple with columns encircling the nude figure. While studying this imagery, I compared it to a stage-like setup where this nude woman is put on display solely for the pleasure of looking. This brought me to the decision to use red fabric, such as the fabric used for stage curtains, hanging from the ceiling and meeting with the sculpture. My photography continues these visual and conceptual connections. I draw inspiration from Edgar Degas’ paintings titled After the Bath where the viewer is looking in on these women’s lives. However, I have these female subjects look directly at the viewer, gaining control. I also use the fabrics from my own sculptures to create a visual connection between the two.