She is a multi-panel, abstract graphic piece that incorporates a feminine form, mundane household objects, and a world outside a window. Inspired by third-wave feminist artists such as Mary Kelly, Barbara Kruger, and Laura Mulvey who reframed the feminine body as it is portrayed in art, I decided to take on this theme, and remove the head of my seated model. This way, I could focus on commonly sexualized parts of her body, her chest and waist. In some ways, this could be seen as a satirization of pornography — the head of a porn actor doesn’t incite as much pleasure as a woman’s sexual features.
However, I aim to reclaim the figure’s sexualized body by covering her completely in clothes and having her remain anonymous. Around her, I have built an abstract scene of a mundane life, as she is seen sitting amongst her many houseplants, a stack of books on the table, and an exciting and beautiful landscape outside that she seems not to have access to. This could be likened to living in quarantine, which is, quite literally, an embodiment of “personal space.” I tried my best to keep She abstract, and I appreciate the diverse opinions and stories that viewers might create without the knowledge of my intentions. I refer to this as viewer “cloud watching.” For this reason, I want the panels to have their own connotations, when rearranged or seen on their own.
I hung the panels a quarter of an inch away from the next, to symbolize social distancing. As the lines in the artwork still connect despite the distance, relationships remain in real life regardless of any stay-at-home order. The color scheme is bright and vibrating, reminiscent of pop art and screen prints. I used these colors because I am interested in color harmonies and patterns, and also felt like this combination may relays a retro or childish aesthetic. I like how color can make people react a certain way, and this combination certainly meant something to me. Color, abstract object forms, a rogue landscape, and a feminine figure have come together to form the nameless She.
Olivia Hart, She, Archival Pigment Prints, 16″ x 20″ (12), 2020