The Digital Female Body

The female body, a mutable yet timeless natural construct, was on the ballot this year. That is to say, every election year in America, in one way or another, the female body is on the ballot. We are pushed and pulled between viewing our bodies as political weapons, at times, or ping pong balls, at other times, or, a system of numerical ratings, or, in the worst of times, an object to be grabbed. Pulled and pushed by this body politic, we must stop and remind ourselves that we inhabit these bodies, how ever we are punished for this natural construct of genetic chance. As the storm windows are drilled down atop the glass ceiling by the same old actors, we look up?

We look in.

We fight on.

And we notice themes. Many of our submissions this fall attempted to present representations of the female body and female identity politics. We were struck by the diversity of the pieces, and haunted by the same frustration and impatience that wove through each of them. Crystal Beiersodorfer (Dept. of Cute, 2015) pushes us up through an abstracted, kaleidoscopic female body as the viewer is birthed and catches a glimpse of the pained female. The pattern is disrupted, and the reds and pinks are no longer so rosy. virtual embodiment (2015) by Christina Smiros pulls us through a process of hyper preparation, editing, and framing where the final, consumable product is already lost to history: a collage of childhood snapshots. The snapshots run through the background as the artist attempts to construct, pose, question, and reconstruct. Similar to Smiros’ piece, the aura of the photograph and power of nostalgia reminds us of what we can’t remember: the black and white perfection of America in the 1950s and 60s. Szilvia Ruszev’s representation and re-contextualization of Cindy Sherman’s work in her piece Blonde Woman Looking Away (2015) accelerates the chastising, criminality that the female body evokes in ways that are unsettling and completely familiar.

We look up. We look in. We fight on. And we remember that sound and fury can shatter glass when pressed in all directions.