A (Mis)Perceived Physique: Bodyscapes by Three Women Artists showcases pieces by artists Allana Clarke, Lauren Kalman and Carolina Mayorga, and together, they tell a compelling story about the use of the female body throughout art history and today. The exhibit explores issues of power and dominance, politics, memory and equity through two stunning photography series and a striking video.
“It really is about the past, present and future of the female body in art,” says Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell, the curator of the exhibit.
Bryant-Greenwell was always interested in the representation of the female body in art and, more specifically, artists’ use of their own bodies in their artwork. She then decided to focus on the past, present and future of the female body in art after seeing the works of Clarke, Kalman and Mayorga, which are strongly influenced by that history.
“These artists are really talking about the story of art history,” she says. “They were really excited to explore the portrayal of the female body in art by female artists.”
In her grayscale photographs, Clarke, who is influenced by her experience as a black woman, portrays herself naked on the beach as she is slowly swallowed by the waves, depicting what she believes is a failed social and political system. Kalman’s video, influenced by body image, captures nude figures balancing on oversized objects to depict a struggle between power and dominance. Mayorga, influenced by the religion in her home country of Colombia, recreates the ideals of womanhood in her photographs.
While the exhibit is not directly influenced by feminism, Bryant-Greenwell says she hopes that it will make people “think about today and the use of the commodified body in work.” The artwork in A (Mis)Perceived Physique tells a narrative of the past and present, and what visitors take from it will affect the future.
“I do think that the visitor contributes the idea of the future in this exhibit. They see the past and present in front of them, and it makes them wonder,” Bryant-Greenwell says. “The future aspect of the exhibit is the question, ‘How far have we come and where are we going?’”
A (Mis)Perceived Physique: Bodyscapes by Three Women Artists opened Sept. 3 and runs until Oct. 16 at the Torpedo Factory.