Re-blogging this…. super stoked about seeing this kind of visual art coming from Indiana University!
Although, I must comment on the deconstructed image of the female. I find it to be psychologically upsetting. For the female form to be represented in this fashion is nothing new. However, this image disturbs me beyond normal. It’s a highly objectified representation of the female body, but its also chopped up, severed, dismembered, deconstructed and butchered beyond the norm. It somewhat reminds me of Duchamps’ Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 in the way that motion and temporality are depicted.
However, the photographic nature of this image resonates as being more “real”. The medium’s inherent qualities and historical uses compel viewers to construct meaningful associations of photographic representations, symbolically, as analogs to “the world” that objectively and passively record a moment in space and time. Thus, this image reads as “real” upon a first glance. The aerial point of perspective forces us into a position of “looking down” on this mutilated female form. The (seemingly) male form that is represented on either side adds an additional symbolic representation that suggests male dominance, as he is still on his feet, in power, with all the control.
This image haunts me, as a sense of rape and murder smacks against my own experiences of what it means to live life on earth embodied in the vulnerable female form.
I don’t have a final thought or conclusion here…. I don’t really like this image. However, art should be judged and experienced using a sophisticated range of aesthetic criteria and understandings that transcend immediate, surface-level subjective preferences (I like it, I don’t like it, etc…). Regardless of how unsettled this image makes me feel and in light of my honestly negative and uncomfortable response to it, I find it to be relatively successful, overall. It disrupted my daily visual experience enough to provoke this writing, enough for me to re-blog this post…. So, the artist is doing something to cut through the fabric of the ordinary.
I’d be curious to know his intentions and how the artist himself constructs meaning through this work. I will admit… knowing this image was developed/created by a male causes me to feel even more unsettled. Why not maim and desecrate the male figure? Doing this to the female form is definitely nothing new. Low hanging fruit, if you will.
Daniel Alexander Smith is currently a MFA Fellow at Indiana University. This is some of his current work exploring flatness, abstraction, and sensuality.