|A Senior Project Exhibition
By: Deanna May Saracki
Looking at the female nude, our mind begins to consider all the possibilities it holds. The shape of the curves, the movements of the body, the contrasts between dark and light have always drawn us into the form. The female body has been idealized for centuries through the use of paintings, drawings, sculpture, and photographic imagery with women portrayed as symbols of spirituality, sensuality, sexuality, and fertility. When seen as “nude”, the viewer is enjoying the female body for its intrinsic beauty. When seen as “naked”, however, the body becomes an open door to sexual possibilities and the viewer often associates nakedness with sexual availability.
I believe in the integrity of the female form, neither naked nor nude, but natural. In the face of society’s images of the “perfect body”, accepting our bodies for what they are can be very difficult, especially for women themselves. In the work that I have created for this exhibition, only the natural female body is revealed, allowing things once forgotten to come alive: shape, form, contrast, light, color, and movement. There’s nothing here to be judgmental or overly critical about. We should all try to understand and accept what there is to know about the female body, from the small lines that inlay in the skin to the shadows that rest on our own figure.
These differences between “naked” and “nude” have been explored through the use of a plaster body cast of myself, a series of clay torsos, and digital photography. While I used my own body as subject, I see it as a representation for any female body. Multiple photo shoots, taken by Kristin Pautzke, started and finished this exhibition. Both 35 mm and digital images were taken to capture the figure. The entire body cast of myself was created with over eighty rolls of plaster Gypsona bandages, during five hours of tedious, overlapping and smoothing of the plaster bandages. With two assistants, plaster was slowly laid over my body as my lips turned blue, fingers and toes went numb, and was unable to speak. Several wooden sticks were plastered onto the cast for structural support. The plaster bandages created the mold from which four clay torsos were made and fired at over 2000° in gas and electric kilns. Two torsos are in stoneware, to represent “naked" and two are white polished porcelain to exemplify the idealization of “nude”. Lastly, the digital and 35 mm photography was loaded in Adobe Photoshop and manipulated, finishing with each image printed through Adobe Acrobat Professional and sent to the printers.
None of this could have been possible without the help from others. This entire project was based on a collaborative effort and I would like to personally thank those who have helped make my project possible.