Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
Steven B. Smith
I am trying to find art in my body, attempting to create images that personalize and desexualize the nude. Between the body of images that we have access to via social media and the images we have seen of female nudes, emphasis is put on finding the form to be within western society’s acceptable range of beautiful; so rarely do we find organic figures existing in the photographic environment.
Having been taught how to photograph the body by looking at images of women taken by men, I don’t see myself. The photographs by Edward Weston and Irving Penn look, gaze, stare at the body but do not inhabit it. In the images of Naturally Occurring Form, I am creating the framework in which I live. I fit, somehow, into the natural environment around me. Like Ana Mendieta and Francesca Woodman, I engage with space around me in a search for unity with it. This play explores a space between nature and the performance of femininity. As Eleanor Antin and Cindy Sherman question the structure of the female gender norms, so do I. There exists a relationship between my body and the landscape, although it is not entirely fluid.
The images are evocative of the mental condition that I deal with every day. They are reestablishing an awareness with my body that has felt distant since puberty. Created in ungroomed landscapes, the work is free from a specific place or era. The conscience is an ongoing monologue that accompanies me wherever I am. It reflects the condition of the world around me.
Kristensen, Margaret, "Naturally occurring form" (2017). Masters Theses. 209.
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