Friday, February 25, 2011

Sara Bonaventura (110)



-She vanishes-
A 'mise en scene' of an impossibility, a virtual presence.

L'invisibile è essenziale agli occhi
Si natura negat...
(The essential is invisible to the eyes
It is negative in nature ...)

Sara writes:

The feminine body is never neutral; it is always marked out, claimed, and figured with language, always inscribed in a logic and history defined by men. In this men-written discourse, women are absent as active presence, but present as passive objects of representation. Though history cannot be re-written, it can be re-interpreted. Women may fill in some gaps, some silences, some vanishing points, live in left out parenthesis...

I often play with quotes or idioms, trying to disclose a new sense, implying also nonsense:
-The concept of sexual difference functions as the vanishing point. (~Jacqueline Rose)
-In the video’s text: On est fou que de sens, only meaning drives you mad. (~Michele Montrelay), rien à voir équivaut à n’avoir rien, nothing to see 'equals' having nothing. (~Luce Irigaray)
-The body is written, but can speak also, referring to l'Écriture Féminine where the female body is seen as a direct source of female writing. (~Ann Rosalind Jones)
-nowhere now here (at the beginning of the video) means in this hic et nunc, which is always ineffable.
-Towards the end of the video an inter-text says peek a boo-merang, referring to past and future space-time dimensions in an ironic way. Irony turns everything upside down and so opens up new perspectives, thereby presenting the video’s ending as a kind of hanged-woman game but also staying open ... To give no answers, but multiple possibilities to you, the other, the referent.
-And ‘the end’ is in a big bubble, a vanitas vanitatum; to remind us that life is death, but also that death is life. The death of language could be a new beginning; when wounds become scars, vulnerable but healthy again.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Francesca Kaplan-It's My Scar (109)

Francesca writes:

When I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, I felt like my world was tumbling in. I had had a lot of sickness in my life, years of Hypothyroidism and Hashimotos, Crohns Disease and other peripheral ailments. But when I had cancer, things changed. This was something I had to deal with immediately and drastically. They had to remove my thyroid, and it left a short, but obvious, scar across my neck. It looked like I had been in a bar fight. Before I had the surgery I was sure I was going to want to hide the scar under flowing scarves, turtlenecks, and well-placed necklaces, but what I found is that as soon as it healed, I loved my scar. People would stare at it: it was in a particularly conspicuous location, and I would catch people looking down at it, puzzled, before coming back to meet my eye. I would touch it, happy to have a physical reminder of the experience I had just overcome. It has been 11 months that I have been cancer free, and during that time, the scar has faded. It’s still there, and obvious, but as the months go by, it gets lighter, the skin taking back the pigment, smoothing over the jagged edges. As it faded, I started to get sad.

Rachel Murawski and Liz Lessner, some talented and creative artists friends of mine, understood my concern. One afternoon, we were talking about this, and we decided it would be meaningful to memorialize the scar so that it never faded from my every day memory. They pushed me to make the first Scar Necklace. When people ask me what my necklace is, even though it very close to the original scar, both in location and in style, I simply say “It’s my scar.” There is something very powerful about celebrating something that to many is ugly, and should be forgotten. I don’t want to forget. Both because I live with the very real possibility that cancer is not a once in my lifetime possibility, and because I am proud of myself for living, and surviving, with strength and dignity.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Rachel Kilback (108)

-Bite Back-

-Dried Up-

-I Hurt, I Bite, I Bleed-

Rachel writes:

I use found items (from animal remains to plant life to garbage) to work through my struggles with chronic pain and illness. I have been battling severe pelvic pain for the last 17 years (since my first period). Things only got worse after the hysterectomy when I was 22. Guilt and suffering are prominent in my self-portrait pieces. It is a difficult thing to really look at yourself, discover what is underneath, and then portray that for all the world to see.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Natalie Holland (107)


Natalie Holland comments:

The process of working with the theme of cosmetic surgery inevitably brought me to a different train of thought relating to transformation of an image. It was connected to life-changing transitions. Any transition serious enough to alter your definition of self will require not just small adjustments to your way of living and thinking, but a full-on metamorphosis. The woman who gazes at her reflection in a bathroom mirror contemplates her image which no longer reflects back to her in the same way. Perhaps the surgery has saved her life, as it can save ours; but there is no surgeon that can save us from the truth.

We live and die by our image. We keep our despair buried as we constantly gaze at ourselves in a mirror of our reality, but in the end, we’ll have to let go of everything. Not just youth and beauty, but of old age and, finally and against our will, life.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Alessandra Tecla Gerevini (106)

"Ombre nude" project

Alessandra writes:

A research on the body, about the body. Lights and shadows modeling the body. Sometimes they reveal, sometimes they hide. Glimpses at lips, hips, breasts, at the skin, the hair and feet. Glimpses that are telling an every woman’s secret life. The body represented in an everyday space, so familiar, so used to nudity. A body we have to show parsimoniously, because it’s an intimate representation of ourselves and our desires. A representation in the simple and pure way, helped by natural morning light, a light that doesn’t blind us but caresses our body and soul.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Maxi Matuschka (105)

-The New Deal-



-The Hand-

-Beauty Out of Damage-
On the cover of The New York Times Magazine, August 13, 1993.

From Maxi Matuschka's Beauty Out Of Damage-artist statement:

After surgery and treatment for cancer in 1991 Matuschka-artist and activist who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1991-worked vigorously creating a large body of drawings and photographs that were used for posters in demonstrations and rallies across America, promoting breast cancer awareness. The images are still in demand: often published in scholarly and academic journals related to sociological issues on health, medicine, beauty and body image.

Matuschka made worldwide headlines when her self-portrait entitled Beauty out of Damage was published on the cover of the Sunday New York Times Magazine. This photograph generated 12 awards (including a Pulitzer Prize Nomination) and subsequently The New York Times received an unusually high amount of letters to the editor, ranking it as one of the most controversial covers in its history. News coverage on TV was extensive and this you tube represents a cross section of programs both the artist and photograph were profiled on.

an extensive catalog and more information can be found on:

Monday, February 7, 2011

Hannah Brancato, Kendra Hebel, Sarah Tooley (104)

an interactive performance that invites participants to explore & share notions of shame and the body.
by Hannah Brancato, Kendra Hebel, and Sarah Tooley

This interactive performance meditating on shame and the body confronts the unrealistic beauty standards contemporary American society imposes via representations of women’s bodies in the mainstream media. Artists Hannah Brancato, Kendra Hebel, and Sarah Tooley mesh the vaudevillian circus side show freak booth with the sterile, hierarchical, physician’s office, a setting in which they invite participants to explore notions of shame and the body, thereby bringing you Get It Off Your Chest, Pluck It From Her Breast. Participant/patients engage with the layered artwork on a visual, emotional, and physical level.

For stories that where collected during the performances over the past year, visit:

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Jeannine Bardo (103)

-Eve, Not of Adam -
Life Size. Paper Mache form with birch bark veneer,
birch seeds and naturally forming lichens, 2009

Jeannine writes:

My fascination with the human body, inside and out, informs my aesthetic. I find the sculpting process to be a constant dialogue. An experience with intuition, what cannot be seen, only felt and the physical. My work stems from how I find connections with myself, the human race and the world around me. Each work is not only a study of form, but a spiritual and emotional study as well. I use the female form to highlight our connection to the organic world and I hope to challenge the viewer to reconsider the role of women, not as objects, but as strong, beautiful and vitally connected to the world we share. I use non-traditional materials to create traditional forms to lead the viewer to question the underlying meaning and to reconsider and hopefully appreciate the hand of the artist.

-Eve, Not of Adam- I considered so many things when I was making this sculpture. I wanted her to be beautiful and reverent. Throughout the entire art making process I considered the role of women on Earth and humankind's relationship with the Earth. Whereas, we once worshiped the Earth and heavens, we now worship material things and Gods who resemble us. I was pleased to find my sculpture becoming Everywoman. She is old, she is young, beautiful/disturbing, black/white, strong/vulnerable…The roles of women are changing, but still remain the same. We are the givers of life, the source of blame, adored, victimized, strong, weak … I feel like my sculpture encompasses all of this as well as connecting us to our source of life, our Earth.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Lee Goldberg (102)

Lee writes:

This series of drawings were done about body image and the beauty of the body regardless of size-shape-age, despite what the media 'feeds' the public ... especially women ... young girls are susceptible to media body propaganda from a very young age.
Allowing young women to see beautiful women of every size in a loving way would certainly be a beginning ... it may not happen in Vogue but artists can lead the way...