Experimenting with creating a landscape out of a combination of my successful ‘woman as landscape’ pieces. Each piece is successful in its own way and although individually can be viewed very differently in terms of compositions and styles, they all hold similarities; one being the presentation on textured-grain wood. This mixture of contrasting landscapes can be viewed as one bigger landscape once correctly placed to ensure the ‘mountains’ of ‘nudes’ flow from one side to the other creating an image representational of overlapping hills/mountains of nature. In my opinion the last layout presents this best due to the connection of the collages across each wooden panel. The different textures and colours of wood create an scenic landscape when viewed as a whole.
My concept explores distorting and disconnecting the representation of woman as ‘landscape’ in Art history, alongside the ‘male gaze.’ I aim to deconstruct the aesthetics and expositions of conforming traditional nudes that depict women as desirable objects. The creation of a contemporary disjunctive landscape that distorts the traditional image of the female nude and the ‘male gaze,’ represents woman as ‘landscape’ differently to those of the renaissance paintings. Through this I am aiming to disrupt and question the ‘male gaze’ rather than diminish it.
My decision to use the traditional nude figure of Giorgione Titan’s, Sleeping Venus, lies within the audience’s familiarity with the original painting. The familiarity allows the audience to observe a correlation between the two representations of the female body and how they differ. This decision was supported by post-modern feminist artist Sherrie Levine, whose practice involves the reproduction of traditional art works as she comments on the inadequacy of female artists within Art history, while male artists were idolized. This informed my concept of disrupting the ‘male gaze’ that was generated by the authority of white western males in the history of Art.
Levine’s practice also looks at the ability for an image to concurrently be recognizable yet unrecognizable and this idea has been translated in my piece through the production of a landscape which is simultaneously a nude. Although the collage is abstract, parts of the (female) body are legible, in order for the depiction to remain perceptible.
Another pivotal influence came from the theory of Gillian Rose and Catherine Nash in ‘Feminist Geography,’ where similarities are drawn between the ‘male gaze’ that is projected on to landscapes and female nudes. Like female nudes, landscapes are aesthetically pleasing for the ‘male gaze’ due to their feminine physiognomies. This theory informed my decision to combine the female body with landscape, presenting it as one, creating a contemporary version of woman as ‘landscape.’ The ‘male gaze’ is diverted through the collaged abstraction.
My decision to use wood as a canvas initiates the connection between the female body and nature. The specific sizing of the wood intends to portray a lengthy landscape with no specific focal point, encouraging the eye to travel across the surface. The grain of the wood imitates the fluid motion of nature and the colour emulates the tone of the nude body. The similar and complimenting characteristics of the wood and the nude body, assist in portraying them as one.
The choice of large scale intends to oppose the small scale of traditional nude painting. They allow the viewer to hold power over the petite and perfectly depicted nude, taking ownership over it. In order to take a feminist stance that rebels against the conformist traditional representations of women, the use of a life-size nude results in the ‘gaze’ of the viewer being confronted, challenging their authoritative power, and opposes the stereotype of the desirable small women.
My final outcome of a large scale, abstract nude-landscape collaged on a wooden board, blurs the definition of woman and landscape while allowing the female body to still be recognizable. Between the cracks of overlapping brown paper collage, which resembles earthly characteristics, the merging flesh of the feminine body is exposed and grows across the wood presenting itself as a natural form of either land or water. Taking feedback and critiques into account, I would further development my work by creating a larger scale piece to enhance the confrontational and overwhelming aspect of my concept.
Experimenting with exhibiting and curating final pieces. Initially my idea was to exhibit the piece leaning against the wall to imitate a reclining nude. This help make links to my concept of recreating the how women have typically been presented in traditional nude paintings. However, against the wall the piece is presented simply allowing the viewer to focus on the depiction on the canvas and follow the rolling body of landscape across the wood.
I have also experimented with exhibiting two pieces at once, with one reclining against the wall and the other drilled to the wall. Overall I like these two pieces together but I think that presenting the two together takes the attention away from flowing form of the larger piece. One is more abstract than the other and I believe this combination will distract the viewer too much.
When asking a peer for some feedback on my piece he introduced me to the work of artist Jonathan Yeo, who also uses collages of bodies to create his works of art. He uses imagery from porn to collage nudes and portraits. I am influenced by his ability to use nude imagery to represent another form, he is a master at manipulating the line, colour, shadow and tone in order to create such a realistic image.
This piece explores the depiction of woman as ‘landscape,’ representing the nude in an abstract and non-conforming manner in order to subvert the ‘male gaze’ projected on to female nudes in the history of Art.
This piece explores how abstraction and disembling of the female nude creates a gendered landscape. The non-conforming feminist approach breaks away from stereotypical nude paintings through scale and abstract representation.
My experiment with vanish completely changed the final product of this piece. As well as darkening the wood the vanish has also picked up on the PVA glue underneath the collage. The overall effect of the vanished piece reminds me of the renaissance paintings I previously looked at.