whole_PhillipsAnna2004_thesis.pdf (20.11 MB)
Visualisation of the imaginary feminine body : from liquid to solid sculptures
thesisposted on 2023-05-27, 17:14 authored by Phillips, Anna
This research was initiated seeking alternative representations for existing and conventional depictions of women in western art history and popular culture. The visual work is founded on the manipulation of oppositional liquid substances, shampoo and used bath water, to form a new material, an imaginary substance. This synthetic and organic combination can be altered from a liquid to a solid state, behaving in a similar manner to an alchemical unguent, that is, a constructed emollient able to dissolve its appropriated properties through the layers, both physical and imaginary that surround the feminine body. Within this mix of opposites, exist the signified properties and societal values of the original sources. Its transformable materiality refers to an absent feminine body and, most importantly, to its surface, mass and odour. The sculptural pieces acknowledge the relevance and domination of patriarchal constructs that are employed towards these dominant signifiers of feminine representation. Within the developed forms the properties of these constructs are addressed and re-employed to create a type of self-portraiture and the suggestion of lived bodily experience. This developed substance is capable of performing as an aesthetic metaphor for the layers, folds and invaginations of real skin. The created sculptures visualise the surface and form of the hidden interior and the outer visible layers that surround the feminine body. The writer Rebecca Solnit in her essay, 1 suggested that one looks in the places between desirable and disgusting if interested in seeking a new feminine aesthetic based upon the unimproved female body. Visualisation of an Imaginary Body generates a range of interpretations and possibilities. Indeed, the discovery of this mid-zone offers an alternative that relies on a much broader range of sensations than is currently acknowledged or given importance.
Rights statementCopyright the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from copyright owner(s). Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 2004. Includes bibliographical references.