Honestly, I'm surprised Im still sane...
Officially hit the half-way mark for my Visual Arts Masters and Im finally starting to feel the heat a bit more. I still have a long way to go before I have completed all of my paintings ready for exhibition and assessment in early June. Im getting increasingly nervous about my preparedness for this...
I have handed up my Thesis A (Research Proposal) and I am well underway with my painting and exegesis creative and theoretical research.
My artworks are examining three key themes; feminine iconography (and its roots in Art Nouveau), Feminine Beauty Theory, and Beauty as currency for success.
Specifically, I am exploring how visual social media outlets such as Pinterest and Instagram provide a format for images to be posted without context and can be re-used by any individual (such as myself) for any purpose. Reference for all of my artworks this semester are sourced from either Instagram or Pinterest and I am taking particular care in selecting each image. I look not only at the image itself, but also its context from the original creator or person who posted the image, the text that accompanied the original image, its like and comments.
The overwhelming response that images can attract on social media, both positive and negative, can be somewhat astronomical. Even as a visual artist I employ Instagram as one of my main outlets to share my artworks and image with other artists and lovers of art. It creates a fantastic platform for a visual port-folio of my artworks and their progression and my practice as a whole.
However, as I begin to analyse images that are shared on social media I am overwhelmed by peoples attraction to aesthetic and what we consider to be 'beauty'. Many comments ignore the person in the image and focus on how 'beautiful', 'sexy', 'stunning', 'hot', or 'pretty' the subject of the photograph is. There is no context given to the photographed individual who is the subject of all of the attention. Nobody asks for a name, a profession, interests or dislikes - they are interested in one thing - beauty.
The progress of finding the reference images, and then aligning these with mediums and processes that have been used for hundreds of years within artistic painting, creates a final product that looks like it was made for its aesthetic pleasure, similar to the original image. However, my artworks are made with the intention that people will connect with them on a personal level. I want viewers to reflect on their use of social media and how they respond both internally and externally to images that they see on social media.
Cant wait to share more of my work with you as it progresses.
Abbey is a practicing Visual Artist and high school teacher.