Mallory Wetherell: Kindred 2019


Artist Statement
Throughout history, women have served as artistic muses, their bodies put on display for purposes of both glorification and sexualization. From the fertility statuette Venus of Willendorf dating back to 28,000 B.C., to Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus (1485 A.D.) to Irving Penn’s Nude No. 1 (1947 A. D.) to the covers of the numerous magazines lining the check-out counters today, the female body has been a common object on display. Inadvertently, all of society has been taught to openly look at it, to freely analyze it. And as a result, the idea that we – as women – can look at ourselves, clearly and uninhibited, is unrealistic. There is undoubtedly subconscious imprinting from both history and the surrounding world that filters in to our notion of self.

This body of work is a reflection of the female self, exploring the complexities of being a woman in today’s society. Subjectively, the female body is amazing. It grows and gives life; and yet, there can be this nonsensical idea that the body should not show evidence of this afterwards. That somehow, females are meant to defy nature, to stop aging, to preserve themselves. I am guilty of these thoughts, in spite of recognizing the irrationality of them.

To convey the conflicting emotions of empowerment and self-deprecation, I utilize imagery that represents the fluidity of being female. My ceramic vessels, referencing the tradition of pots as figures, are painted with small narratives to a much larger and timeless story – snapshots that expose internalized thoughts regarding what it means to be a woman. My drawings on paper are rendered from a severely personal vantage point. Formatted in a circular fashion, they serve as peepholes creating a voyeuristic sense of tunnel vision that alludes to both the physical and psychological peripheries that ultimately skew our perception of self.

However, the things that may help classify me as female are not what defines me as a woman. I am also a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a professor, an artist, a lover of nature and animals, and an advocate. As women, it is imperative that we put our energy into causes that progress our future, and that of our children, rather than insulting ourselves and allowing a superficial society to determine our worth.

Mallory Wetherell, Decorative Plate, Had-painted Porcelain, n.d.Mallory Wetherell
Decorative Plate

Hand-painted Porcelain

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