This piece I titled “Pretty Hurts” is based on a piece by Leonardo da Vinci. I wanted to emphasize the idea in media and in a society that women only hold true value if they are beautiful. It is an idea that feminists have tried to shake off, but even in today’s society, evidence of this pressure is everywhere. Underwear adds and makeups commercials, scantily clad female roles in movies. In, history, women are notable if they were beautiful, while men were notable if they were strong or cunning. This idea has not died throughout the ages. Today’s society still puts pressure on women and with technology affecting young girls, it’s no surprise that bullying and self-hating attitudes are rapid amongst teenagers. Society sweeps this pain under the rug, much like a pretty picture.
This piece is another part of the Renaissance series I am creating, taking old paintings and putting a twist on them to reveal hardships experienced by women. In “Inner Demons” I wanted to emphasize inner demons that women face, may it be social pressures that cause them to feel less than perfect, including depression. In the piece, I have the two women covered in scared to show the aspect of both physical and mental pressures they face. This piece is based on Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith Slaying Holofernes. In the story, Judith and her servant slay the general. I wanted to add this sort of sisterhood, to emphasize that these internal battles don’t need to be fought alone.
“Elephant, beyond the fact that their size and conformation are aesthetically more suited to the treading of this earth than our angular informity, have an average intelligence comparable to our own. Of course they are less agile and physically less adaptable than ourselves — nature having developed their bodies in one direction and their brains in another, while human beings, on the other hand, drew from Mr. Darwin’s lottery of evolution both the winning ticket and the stub to match it. This, I suppose, is why we are so wonderful and can make movies and electric razors and wireless sets — and guns with which to shoot the elephant, the hare, clay pigeons, and each other.”
― Beryl Markham, West with the Night
These small paintings are from a few years ago done in a small approx. 8×5 inch sketchbook, using watered down acrylic paint.