Space and Materiality: Body
Assignment: Soft Sculpture
Instructor: Carolyn Salas
Space and materiality: body, is a class that teaches that the physical body can be represented in ways that exceed its physical form. This concept of being able to see the body represented in other forms and materials outside of the human body is something I believe has heightened my ability to beyond the surface to find true meaning. As a fashion design major I wanted to take fabric, a material that I am familiar with and use it in a new way. Inspired by the textile sculpteur Simone Pheulpin a French textile sculptor who lives and works in the Vosges. Her technique is based on the careful and repetitive folding of unbleached, uncured, rough cotton bands. Pins, hidden in the heart of each work, allow the holding of the whole. Thus unfolds a universe that sometimes appears mineral, sometimes plant, a reflection of the natural world.
The Evolution of a Woman’s Body Image A woman’s body is always in the spotlight and expected to look presentable no matter what. Body image is a fight that women have been battling virtually since the 1700s. That is approximately 300 years that the ideal body has been altered in accordance to what society deems as “beautiful”. It is difficult to predict something that has transformed many times throughout the years, yet in the 1990s and early 2000s, if models became any skinnier, they would not have to struggle with problems such as eating disorders, and people would be less judgmental overall. Unfortunately, we do not live in this perfect world, so women are altering their bodies based on society’s standards at any given time. The dramatic change in a woman’s body image is a trend that has affected women of all ages enhanced by peers, media, and social media that surrounds us constantly. This constant back and forth of what it means to have a perfect body is what I decided to base my project on taking the viewpoint of their being no such thing as the perfect body.
Soft sculpture can take many forms and can be composed of any material. Commonly seen as work created from yarn, fabric, etc “soft” can be achieved by the way we as artists manipulate a material to look. Because of this I decided I would take fabric a seemingly soft material to create a structured abstract picasso influenced piece. Using elmers glue I decided I would make a pleating contraption made from architect board in which I would spread the glue soaked pieces of fabric so they could dry and take the shape of the board. Once dry I would then proceed to manipulate and shape the fabric panels into the different parts of the conceptual human body. Choosing to lay the parts on top and next to one another to keep within the seventeen inch requirement. My goal was to portray the human form in all its imperfect glory which is why I chose an abstract perspective. This choice was a nod to the fact that people are always looking for perfection in the human form which is something that they will ultimately, never find.