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WELCOME TO JUST AN ART FANATIC

I guess you could call me an aspiring art critic, an admirer of Clive Bell and Frida Kahlo reincarnated with a dash of Rococo.

 
 

MY PAINTINGS

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19.jpg
Uncomfortable..jpg
Uncomfortable..jpg
2nd piece, cheers for being amazing mode
2nd piece, cheers for being amazing mode
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IMG_6129.jpg
Uncomfortable..jpg
Uncomfortable..jpg
Imprinted..jpg
Imprinted..jpg
Brush em’ (_izzymoulding thanks for bein
Brush em’ (_izzymoulding thanks for bein
Touchin tits.jpg
Touchin tits.jpg
mama 🎨.jpg
mama 🎨.jpg
_scottsydney Nass prep..jpg
_scottsydney Nass prep..jpg
Absolution..jpg
Absolution..jpg
Feeling it ;).jpg
Feeling it ;).jpg
Cara Thayer and Louie Van Patten study.j
Cara Thayer and Louie Van Patten study.j
Many thanks to that Welsh boy from NASS.
Many thanks to that Welsh boy from NASS.
 
  • Alexia Morris

The Mary Wollstonecraft Statue is a setback for feminism

Mary Wollstonecraft, or should I say the 'mother of feminism', was an academic pioneer for the advocation of women's rights. She wrote The Vindication of Women's Rights in 1792 and was also the mother to one of the greatest female novelists of all time, Mary Shelley. Wollstonecraft was a woman beyond her time and finally there has been a statue to commemorate her success and life achievements. There are a limited number of statues of women in the UK, and out of the 828 statues recorded, only 174 are of women. To further stress this, only 80 of the statues of women are named, in comparison to the 534 statues of men, 422 of them are named. Yes, this can be linked to the societal limitations that women were bound by in history, but even so, with Wollstonecraft being such a key figure in the feminist movement, it wasn't until 2020 that she has been monumentally commemorated.

The statue 'dedicated to' Mary Wollstonecraft stands in Newington Green, London, near where she lived and worked. The statue was made by artists Maggi Hambling, whose work I've been exposed to since I was a child as where I grew up, in Aldeburgh, there is one of her works called 'The Scallop' which is situated on the beach near where I learned to ride a bike and ate my fish and chips with my cousins. Hambling is seen as a somewhat controversial artist, and with this in mind I felt as though her understanding of the sheer importance of this statue would be reflected in her work. I was wrong. The statue has been viewed by some critics as revolutionary for the modern-day women but I think it encapsulates everything wrong with women in sculpture. The statue depicts a naked woman in a kinetic state of metamorphosis. The woman is emerging from an abstracted wave-like form. She stands there, with a toned idealised body. Her face is stern and undistracted. For me, this statue epitomises everything wrong with female sculpture. It is an objectified representation of woman who fought for civil rights, a woman who symbolises the journey to female equality, and yet she stands there representing the very thing which women have always been viewed as; an object.

The 'nude' women in art is a subject which has been around since classical antiquity. There are countless numbers of idealised naked women produced solely to feed the male gaze. The art critic, John Berger, was one of the first to identify this issue in his TV series 'The Ways of Seeing'. Berger comments on the different perceptions of both men and women in art. 'Men act, women appear.' The role of the female nude is for the male viewer, our bodies are owned by them and we are there for men to enjoy. This is something which still exists today through advertisement and the expected beauty standards embedded into a woman's psyche. Even though men also face unfair societal expectations which also apply unnecessary pressure onto them, women have faced these stereotypes for centuries. In the Bible, in the Genesis story of Original Sin, Adam and Eve, after eating the apple from the forbidden tree, become aware of their nakedness. What enrages me the most about this story is the way God punished 'the woman' (who isn't even referred to as Eve in this verse), God says:

“I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing;

in pain you shall bring forth children,

yet your desire shall be for your husband,

and he shall rule over you.”

He shall rule over you... well I think we can see where the idea of the 'second sex' came from then. The statue of Wollstonecraft is in some ways great as it has brought so much attention to such an incredible woman, and you could argue that the controversy, following its unveiling, created debate and therefore recognition. But why is it that women always have to be depicted naked. Why is it that our value seems to lie in our bodies, even when presenting Wollstonecraft who fought for the female right to education. The naked woman is beautiful and nakedness is not something to be ashamed of, but in art its expected. Its tiresome. In order for a woman to gain attention the removal of her clothes seems to be a necessity.

I would really recommend reading some of the reviews of this statue and making up your own mind. Do you think it is revolutionary, or rather an excuse to display yet another naked woman?

As soon as lockdown is over I can't wait to go and see this statue for myself, maybe it'll have a different impression in person, but my worries still stand. Women should be valued for more than what's under their clothes.


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A BIT ABOUT ME

My name is Alexia and I am 20 years old. I am currently studying History of art at Oxford Brookes University and found that it has inspired me to really look at art with a different eye. I follow a critic called Jerry Saltz on Instagram and through reading his work and looking at the writings of Vasari and Clive Bell I have realised that I have an extreme love for writing and talking about art. I do paint in my spare time and have always loved it but I have always found it so interesting to learn new things about artists. I remember learning about the life of Toulouse-Lautrec when I wrote about Women at their 'toilette' for my A-level coursework and being completely fascinated by his absinthe addiction and what he got up to. When you find out about the life and personality of an artist it really changes your opinion on their works which is not necessarily a good thing but it is something which is completely relevant. When I learnt about The Bloomsbury group and how they intended to dissociate form, colour and lines with a subject matter I learnt this new way of observing art. I always find that keeping an open mind no matter how hard it may be is the only way to fully and truly appreciate a piece, so that is what I intend to use this blog for.