Earlier this week I was able to go to two SMP presentations for my art events for this semester. The first was a presentation by Amber Fryza on the sexual objectification of women. During her research she examined images that sexually objectify women. In these images, women are often in submissive poses and are looking directly at the viewer. This inviting eye contact draws in the viewer and almost gives the viewer permission to look at her.
Amber made a series of three images that is currently hanging in the gallery. In these pieces she blocked out parts of the images with pieces of metal so that when looking at the images the viewer cannot see her entire body all at once. This draws the viewer eye all over the piece. She decided to have the metal pieces sticking out of the image so that the viewer can still look behind it. This is interesting because even though the viewer can still see those parts of the image when they stand closely, there is no way for the viewer to see her entire body all at the same time. By doing this Amber is in control of what the viewer is able to see. This is in direct contrast with the more pornographic images that she showed during her presentation. In those images, women were laying out for anyone to see. In her pieces, she holds the power because she is in control of what the viewer sees.
Eye contact plays a major role in the work Amber created for her project. She views the direct eye contact seen in the pornographic images as a way for the viewer to see into the soul of them women who are photographed. In all of her pieces she looks away from the camera, as to not let the viewer have access to her. Although I agree that eye contact is an important part of reading someone or figuring out more about them, I believe that she could have created some successful non-objectifying images while looking into the camera. I think that sexual objectification is not dependent on eye contact and is more reliant on the overall body language of the person in the image. Sometimes by not looking at the camera, it seemed as though she was giving anyone permission to look at the image of her because she was looking away and would not be able to see those around her who might be looking.
Overall, I think Amber was successful in her project and had some interesting ideas. She had an in depth understanding of range of artists and how women are objectified in images. I liked how she used a range of mediums and that she was courageous enough to take images of herself for her pieces.
I was also able to attend Olivia Garahan’s SMP presentation, “everything is exactly the same.” Her work commented on the beauty of the world by using photographs as well an installation. I think her work appealed to me because, like her, I appreciated the “little beauty in the details of life,” as I think most artists do. A lot of her work focused on small details of nature. In one of her pieces, she took photos outside and then added to them with thread. Not only does this add a third dimension to a flat photograph, but it allowed her to make more fantastical images. For instance, on a photograph of a tree, she added extra braches using colored thread. In a way, it was like photo editing without a computer. She was able to add parts to the image that did not exist and changed how the viewer looks at nature.
A large theme in her work was nature vs. artificial. She believes that all things (including things like technology) are natural because God created humans and and we created the objects in the world around us. Although I do not exactly agree with this idea, it is interesting to think about what we consider natural and what we consider artificial.
In her installation, she created a scene of stars using projectors. The installation included motion sensors so the stars would move depending on the movements of the viewer. Making her installation interactive suggests that the viewer is a part of nature and is able to influence the nature around them. I wish that I were able to see the installation in person.
Overall, in her work she chose to focus on small parts of the world around her: such as a series of stars, a small patch of grass or a piece of granite. In her work, she chose small pieces of the world and manipulated those images in her own way, portraying them in a way that cannot be found in the natural world. I think her projects make the viewer see the environment in a new way and makes people pay attention to the small details in the world around them.