Tuesday, July 28, 2009

"Rower's Hand"
30x40 inches oil on canvas
This painting is a portrait of my own hand during peak rowing season. It shows the layers and folds of hard earned blisters I developed while adapting to the grip of the oar. I added long acrylic nails to my hand to display the contrast between a sport specific behavior and what society asks women to do to maintain an appealing external image. The contrast is almost comical yet it speaks to a deeper issue surrounding the conflicting values with which female athletes contend. Developing rough hands and large muscles makes a female rower stronger at her sport, and thus raises her status in the athletic world. However, when she confronts broader societal standards she immediately finds messages that she is contradicting expectations of her gender. Her skin quickly becomes too rough and her muscles become too large and intimidating for society to accept.