Realistic Paintings Of Naked Breasts Make A Powerful Feminist Statement

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For The Breast Portrait Project, the artist Clarity Haynes draws inspiration for the feminist art traditions of the 1970s, from works that spliced and dissected the female body in ways that disrupted and challenged the male gaze. Cataloging the naked breasts and midsections of women who do not conform to traditional ideals of feminine allure—older women, women who have undergone childbirth, transgender women in the process of transitioning—the the painter hopes to assert the validity and beauty of all human bodies, including those that exist outside of narrowly defined physical standards. For Haynes, the act of seeing and of painting the body inherently necessitates that it be viewed with respect.

The theorist John Berger once posited that female subjects in art, imagined mostly by male painters, betray knowledge of the male gaze; staring out and the viewer (presumed to be male) for approval, their identities are split in two parts, namely the true self and the self that is watched and judged by men. In cutting out the female face, eyes, and mouth, Haynes cleverly subverts this tradition, and her women display their bodies matter-of-factly, without a trace of self-consciousness.

These female bodies, removed from a face that might otherwise reveal vulnerabilities and invite scrutiny, disallow the viewer to judge based on physical appearance. In lieu of typical signs of identity like eyes, expressive brows, or seductive lips, these private sections of the body become testaments to the individual self who chooses to stand out from the conformity of conventional female beauty standards; like a text that covers the nude body, stretch marks and scars become signifies of a vast and nuanced female experience. (via iGNANT)
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Emotional Images On Body Dysmorphia, Weight-Loss Surgery, And Self-Acceptance

weight-loss surgery weight-loss surgery

weight-loss surgery

For the artist Maria Raquel Cochez, her body is both her subject and medium; choosing to undergo and photograph 3 weight-loss surgery procedures, she catalogs a complex relationship with body image. For this series, titled “Life Performance,” and subsequent videos, paintings, and photographs, the artist courageously addresses the difficult ways in which women are expected to conform to physical ideals.

For “Life Performance,” Cochez relinquishes all control, surrendering both her body and her camera, leaving others to cut, transform, and document her as she undergoes a breast reconstruction and implant and gastric bypass. Each photograph poignantly blurs the line between performance and experience, boldly welcoming the public into a profoundly private emotional space.

Four years after “Life Performance,” Cochez presents “Belly,” a gorgeous video capturing the effects of surgery and life on her midsection. Seen floating in a full bathtub, her excess flesh is seen as touchingly soft yet powerful; isolated from the rest of her body, it seems to breathe independently, rising from the water and sinking back again. On the righthand side of the frame, a child plays with the female belly, innocently exploring the space that gave him life. He kneads it like bread, then strokes it carefully.

The work is painfully moving for the artist’s total surrender to her craft and audience; as viewers, we bear witness to her insides, to folds of her naked skin. For this reason, her impressive body of work seem less like an exploitation of the self than a miraculously intimate confessional. Despite their potentially painful content, her creations are strangely warm and generous; for example, in Life Performance No.1, romantic black and white images of her smiling face and her soft backside gently bookend the frighteningly colorful photographs of her surgery.

Ultimately, the work reads as a richly nuanced love letter to the human body, one to which all humans, regardless of experience, can relate. Take a look at Cochez’s paintings, videos, and photographs after the jump, including her uncomfortably, painfully seductive self-portraits of eating binges.
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Julia Kozerski Catalogs Her Dramatic Weight Loss In Powerful Series On Body Image (NSFW)

dramatic weight loss

dramatic weight loss

dramatic weight loss

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When the photographer Julia Kozerski lost literally half her body weight, dropping from 338 to under 178 lbs, she cataloged her complex emotional reaction to her transformation in a series titled Half. In a jarring response to most weight loss media, the artist avoids the display of any cheerful confidence, forcing viewers to consider the murky and provocative intersections of body image and identity.

In each frame, the artist performs intimate rituals, using her form as an aesthetic means of translating her feelings about identity and metamorphosis. In Ruins No. 1 and No. 2, she treats her flesh as if it were the remains of an ancient monument or temple; her skin, colored by stretch marks and curvatures shot in vivid contrast, appears less like an emerging new shape than a worshipful testament to the body she once lived in. For Kozerski, her weight loss is complicated by the suggestion of a confused identity; as she navigates her “halved” body, we quietly mourn the loss of the other.

As the photographs courageously expose this sense of loss and confusion, they paradoxically serve as a forum for self-actualization. In exposing her deepest vulnerabilities, Kozerski surrenders herself to her transformation, allowing for a richer and gorgeously nuanced identity to emerge. Throughout the series, the artist’s emotional and physical bareness become increasingly related to this idea of selfhood re-discovered, a theme which is often explored through her erotic connection with her husband.

In “…or for Worse,” Kozerski is tragically shown to be too small for her wedding gown, but throughout the series, sexual barriers and insecurities fade. An image titled “Lovers Embrace,” for instance, presents the pained and uncertain subject laying beside her mate, their wedding bands providing a flicker of hope as they glisten in the evening light. Ultimately, the viewer bears witness to “Eclipse,” a shot in which husband and wife stand nude, embracing one another and visually condensed into one powerful and resilient figure. After weathering this complex emotional terrain with the artist, we are presented with an image simply titled “Self,” left breathless and in awe of the woman before us. (via CNN, Phototazo, and Jezebel)
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Nude Bodies Transform From Flattering To Unflattering With Slight Shift In Pose (NSFW)

Nude Bodies

gracie hagen Nude Bodies

gracie hagen Nude Bodies

Chicago-based artist Gracie Hagen has created a photography series titled “Illusions of the Body” that captures nude bodies in contrasting poses. In the “attractive” image on the left, the models represent their bodies with straight backs, pulled-back shoulders, and demure expressions – many of them stand posed in positions that reflect classical sculpture. In the “unattractive” image on the right, the bodies are turned and the models push out their stomachs, hunch their backs, and evoke expressions of indifference.

 

From Hagen’s Tumblr:

“‘Illusions of the Body’” was made to tackle the supposed norms of what we think our bodies are supposed to look like. Most of us realize that the media displays only the prettiest photos of people, yet we compare ourselves to those images. We never get to see those photos juxtaposed against a picture of that same person looking unflattering. That contrast would help a lot of body image issues we as a culture have.

 

Within the series I tried get a range of body types, ethnicities & genders to show how everyone is a different shape & size; there is no “normal”. Each photo was taken with the same lighting & the same angle.

Celebrate your shapes, sizes & the odd contortions your body can get itself into. The human body is a weird & beautiful thing.”

 


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