This project consists of self-portraits posing as well known male nude sculptures and drawings from art history. The assumption of these poses as a young woman is a reclamation and a return of gaze. Gaze exists within many levels and intersections in this work. I am addressing the art-historical, heteronormative, male, and settler colonial gaze(s) while exploiting the visual currency associated with young, white and able-bodied passing femminity. The male nude has functioned in Western art as a tribute to human strength, athleticism, and ability whereas female nudes have existed as objects to represent procreation and male fantasies. This project criticizes that dichotomy while also providing an alternative way to view female nudes. In this catalog my self-portraits are in conversation with two other groups of images within the context of a Sotheby’s auction catalog. The other groups of images include select works from contemporary art history that are similarly reclaiming female space and autonomy while critiquing the male gaze. These works exist as rare but necessary representations of and by women. These pieces are contrasted with works selected directly from an archive of existing Sotheby’s catalogs in which male artists are continuing to perpetuate and profit from the same archaic ways of presenting female nudes. Including these two opposing groups with my images frames my images within an existing lineage of women artists criticizing similar things and proves my concerns are timely and valid.
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