The topic I was researching in Seminar is about beauty contest. Although it is not directly relates to my studio final project’s topic about uterus and female, they have common points about gender stereotype towards female. The specific content I am now exploring in Studio is about the relationship between women and reproductive rights in China. Being a mother seems like the only role for women. No matter as a student or a high-paid professional, fertility is a topic follows their whole life. The women who had not gotten married or haven a child would be considered as living a unsuccessful and incomplete life. I use acrylic paints drawing on canvas to make three paintings as a series. The using of acrylic on canvas will have a different texture than a flat print photo. Also the acrylic paints has a feeling of thickness and purity, which helps to convey a creepy and heavy atmosphere that I want to pursuit. Since April 9 class, I did some research about birth plan in China and I will explore what other artists have done towards birth plane topic.
I drew the first version of the student part on April 15. For this week, I will add more details to this painting and start another one.
Since last class, I added more details to the first drawing of a female student. And started my drawing of the second piece: a high-paid professional who wears suit. I changed my idea from a female scientist to a business woman since it is more representative in showing women with great career is still bothered by reproductive pressure. One of the feedback by zen is very helpful for me. She said that I should give the audience a comprehensive explanation since the reproduction issue is very specific in China. Without giving enough context, the audience who are not from Asia may misunderstand it. I did some research about the artist Xiaogang Zhang because of the grey tone in his works. What surprised me is that he also touched the topic towards family issue and reproduction issue in China, like China’s one-child policy and traditional preference for son which is a misconception that men are superior to women. And for the upcoming weeks, I would look upon feminist artists’ works more. For the time management, I would start doing my third drawing which would probably took me 8 hours to finished. And also add more details to the second drawing of the business woman taking up nearly 3 hours.
I finished my second painting and started the first draft of the third painting during the week between classes. I found out that the skin color is to heavy of the third painting. So I will redraw the skin part this week and also add more highlights to the first and the second drawing in order to create a volume. And I came up with the name of this series called Chinese Red. Red is an essential color for the Chinese people. It represents festive atmosphere. Couples wore red on wedding days in the old time. People hang red lantern, red couplets to celebrate new year. Parents give red packets to their children at spring festival. The Chinese red represents joy and celebration. But when this kind of red is used as a uterus symbol surrounded with grey tone things, the meaning of red changed. The red now is cold, creepy and ironic. It is a “celebration” of reproduction. Since April 23rd, I did some research on tanbi culture, which usually used to describe” two good-looking men in a romantic relationship”. I was first wondered why women were the main audience. The I found out that the image of the men in tanbi culture had similarity with women in classical paintings. They were passive, they were being viewed and judged. The facial expression and gesture of male characters shown on book cover or animation cover were similar to the nude women in oil paintings. They were both submissive and soft. So the difference is the change of the spectators, from male to female. But the relationship of possessing and being posses did not change. The patriarchal power structure has never changed.
For this week, I will do some research on a Chinese movie called Raise the Red Lantern. The red lantern, as a festival object, is shown up couple of times in the movie as the symbol of a specific ceremony. The ceremony of having sex with different concubines. The movie is about a female’s experience in Chinese feudal society. The mood of the movie is depressing but the main color of the film is joyful Chinese red. This contrast is similar to my drawings so I will do more research on this movie. And this week I will finish my third drawing and add more details the first and second one. 8 hours are needed this week.
During the week between classes, I finished the third drawing of bride, and finally put them together as a whole series. When I present the work to the group today, group mates all think it was a strong series. Really thanks for the professor pushing me each time in improving not only concepts of the drawing and the techniques, details of drawings. For last week, I watched Raise the Red Lantern again to see what was connected to my topic. And I found out that the movies used a lots of symbolism. The lantern symbolized power. The action of doing massage symbolized sex. The qipao symbolized the identity of this system. It reminds me of what we talked about in today’s class about visual culture. Symbols are important parts of visual culture. We, as the creator, learn these symbols and create own symbols at the same time. For my series, the red uterus without ant texture or structure is a kind of symbol. I think it is a right choice of using a symbolic uterus than drawing a realistic uterus. Because it makes the image looks more striking and add a sense of mystery and ritual. For this week, I will come back to my topic about reproduction and women. I would watch a chinese documentary called This is Life focusing on true story happened in fertility clinics. I guess this time I will have a more comprehensive understand of my topic. And for the work I will clean my border of three paintings using white acrylic, in order to make them look more as a group. It will take near 1.5 hours.
after cleaning up the edges
reinforced the highlight part of the first drawing’s left arm
after fixing the uterus of the third drawing