Anointed in Alabaster
“I created myself as goddess, as angel, as a female crucified so that I could expropriate the symbols that were made by men of women and then give women a new status, a new formal language. I took back my own body instead of giving it to someone else to ‘create’.” – Hannah Wilke
The artistic muse has been infamously and almost exclusively female. Women have posed for centuries, while men have been inspired, benefited, and profited off of the this inherently institutionalized misogynistic action. For this self-portrait series, “Anointed in Alabaster” I became my own muse, acting as the object and subject while rejecting the notion of being objectified. The choice to recreate myself as well known alabaster sculptures of women made by men is pivotal to the piece; it depicts that I hold the power of own my image as opposed to a male who is looking upon my form for salvation or inspiration.
The habitat in which these images were created illustrates a connection between ecofeminism and the uninhibited land which women is more connected to than men. This preserved area of wild growth in the Angeles Nation Forest depicts the balance between femininity and nature; a tenderness yet wrathfulness, demure yet brazen, regenerative yet lethal. I was interested in exploring themes of interconnectedness to land and female instinct while intersecting this fascination with sculptural self-portraits.
The act of the self-portrait is not only independent, but a reclaiming of my body which is constantly objectified. Pairing this decision with the techniques of large format photography was another subversion against the patriarchal system in the art realm. This piece specifically references the male photographers who are most heavily associated with large format images (Ansel Adams, Richard Avedon, Irving Penn) and creates an altering dialogue that engages in gender politics, art criticism, and feminism philosophy.