All The Venuses Exhibition July 2018

130 St Georges Bay Road, Parnell - Whitecliffe College of Arts & Design Mid-year Exhibition

Wednesday 27th July 2018

The female body is explored via the self-portrait and critiques attitudes surrounding the female form through contemporary and past cultures. A confidence is sought that the subject feels of herself and her body, without narcissism. Recurrently, the subject’s gaze, predominantly in The Introduction challenges the audience’s stereotypes on women’s bodies as it seems to follow the observer around the space. In featuring the self, there is also a celebration of the beauty in monumental flesh – the swelling, creases and weight.

These are self-portraits as moments in performance. The paintings here capture three such moments of a woman claiming her body as a point of difference to male-based media representations. The work uses the self-portrait as a space for an emotional honesty and reflectivity. Its feminism lies within that. Tracey Emin, Ana Mendieta and Jenny Saville all create work using their bodies as representations of other women’s bodies. It is in this that “all the Venuses” can be used to describe not just the three paintings but women’s difference, amongst women. 

Growing up with the internet, every young woman has captured an image of herself clothed or unclothed on a webcam, be it a mobile phone or a computer. The digital has become a gaze that we are all posing in front of. All of the paintings were translated originally from digital images taken on a laptop webcam. The titles of the paintings, while situating the body behind the webcam, honor past female figures and utilize the history of painting and the female form.

 © 2019 by Ella Ranfft, Auckland, New Zealand

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All The Venuses