Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"Preparation" 3x4 feet oil on canvas ----SOLD

This oil painting captures the moment right before the race. I am aesthetically attracted to the variety of positions and postures athletes take on when they mentally prepare for the trials ahead. One cannot ignore the musculature of these female figures. Because they are turned away and focused on their sport they avoid giving the viewer the satisfaction of a sexually confirming female gaze.
"Female Arms" (SOLD)
18x24 inches graphite on paper
When most viewers confront this painting they assume it is a combination of male and female arms. After reading the title they see they are mistaken. I intend to demonstrate the variety of female physiology through this drawing and to undermine notions that women cannot obtain upper body strength. Many female athletes feel insecure about their large muscles because they feel less feminine. Through this work I want to show that having strong arms is a feminine quality.
"In Contemplation of a Race" 3x6 ft oil on canvas
(Donated to USC Rowing)

This painting shows rowers after a race. The viewer sees both the mind and muscle of the athlete here because of the obvious musculature of the women and the focused gazes they possess. The large scale of the canvas also heroicizes the athletes. I like using paint to portray female athletes because large paintings take on an immediate physical presence and give credibility and importance to their subject matter. This piece is meant to be a counter argument to the painting below of Maria Sharapova.
Comic, pen on paper
In the 2008 Olympics female ping pong players noticed that their sport drew very low numbers. Sports officials, recognizing that women's sports with skimpier clothes like volleyball and tennis draw more crowds, suggested that women's ping pong change alter their uniforms to be sexier. This comic mocks the fact that the knee jerk response to fewer numbers is more skin.
"Bench Pull"
3x4 ft oil on canvas
This is another example of a painting that highlights the strength and musculature female athletes can build. This painting is a self portrait. As a rower I often perform this exercise to strengthen the finish and send off of the stroke. The content of this work, a sport specific training exercise that strengthens forearms and biceps, helps support the idea that female athletes workout to become better competitors. Women, like men, like sports, enjoy overcoming pain, and want to push themselves to their limits. Images like this greatly contrast with the common portrayal of female athletes as weak, sexy objects, ready to be swept away by their strong male counterparts.
"Diana" (sold)
2x3 feet oil on canvas
This black and white painting serves as an example of the real female athlete. The subject portrayed here contradicts the commonly propagated images of female athletes as sex objects. This figure is strong, determined and focused. I used black and white paint to further emphasize her action. The elimination of color allows the viewer to pay full attention to the physicality of the rowing motion being depicted.
WNBA regulation sized basketball 29" Left
NBA regulation sized basketball 29.75" Right ($200)
1x2 feet oil on wood panel

While researching this topic, I came across an unusual distinction between the regulation sizes for basketball sizes in the WNBA and the NBA. Trivial seeming distinctions like this promote an overall sense of female athletic achievement as being somehow less important or significant. I also became fascinated with the juxtaposition of two very different women on one court. On the left, in the women's sized ball, you see the strong female basketball player. On the right, in the male sized ball you see the typical "Laker Girl." The contrast between the two heightens their differences in achievement and purpose. Furthermore, the distinction in circle size parallels the inequities between attention paid to female accomplishment and female appearance.
Comic, pen on paper

I gained inspiration for this comic after reading about the connection between sports terms and terms used to objectify and victimize women.  Terms like player, playing the field, score, hit that, and 4th base all create a scenario where the man is the active agent using his physical power to dominate a situation with a woman.  

"Everyday Athletes" 1x2 feet, collage and paint on wood

As a female athlete, I find myself very frustrated with the overall visual imagery in popular women's sports magazines.  All too often a model, not an athlete is supposed to demonstrate an ideal athletic build for a woman.  I noticed a homogeneity in the types of women represented.  They are usually slim, Caucasian, and have little to no muscle definition.  Ads for workout companies like Bowflex often show the man working out while a woman is supporting him.  This occurs in the collage where the woman sits smiling on the man's back while he does push ups or stands gazing with admiration at him while he does pull ups.  This dynamic reinforces the role of men in sports as active agents and women in sports and spectators or cheerleaders.  There is an image in here where the man is supporting the woman, however her cleavage focuses the viewer on her sexuality instead of her strength. 

"Star Athletes" 16x20 inches, collage on wood

This collage shows the problematic absorption of female athletes into celebrity culture.  Athletes like Amanda Beard, Anna Kournekova, Maria Sharapova, and Danicka Patrick have all become "Star Athletes."  This is not to say they have the same connotations as the terms Joe Montana, or Tiger Woods.  They are not stars for their athletic accomplishment when they are absorbed into the greater celebrity culture.  They must fit themselves into a preexisting marketable, and heteronormative role in order to gain public appeal and approval.  It frustrates me that it is easier for a female athlete to make the cover of Sports Illustrated by wearing her bikini than by winning Olympic medals.  

Comic, pen on paper

I created this comic to question why a female athlete should have to concern herself with her appearance in order to achieve monetary success. Amy Acuff, an Olympic high jumper who posed for Playboy, exemplifies this by saying, "Playboy publicity helped the team secure training facilities and a coach. My chances are the best they can possibly be and Playboy has a part in that."