Uncontained is a solo exhibition by Lauren Kamperman ’12, and is part of an on-going series of Senior Studio Art Major exhibitions in the Edward M. Smith Gallery.
“I search to find a way to change the ideal female form and how it is presented in art. My outlook on the depiction of the female form is grounded in my experience as a swimmer and this has affected my approach to my artwork. I have been competitively swimming since the age of eight and my dedication to swimming has shaped my life. Water has become a second world to me. As Loren Eiseley said, “If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.” The look and the feel of water affects my relationship with the contexts that I create and the materials that I choose. I am drawn to water, thus I am drawn to the color blue. For me, blue is something familiar, something personal that helps me to further engage in my art.
Being an athlete, I found it difficult to identify with depictions of women in art that I have come across in galleries, art history courses, and in commercial advertising today. Women are portrayed as weak, conquerable beings and yet they are presented in a way that contains them as though the artist fears them. I strive to create female forms that are empowered rather than objectified. Women are not just flesh, fat, and bone; they are made up of muscles and have minds of their own.
I portray the female form in a context that references the historical containment of the female form but that allows the female form to be uncontained. I want my figures to be able to move freely though the space. Using steel re-bar markings, I created a structural context for my figures while also referencing culture through the industrial expansion of man. This link to culture comes from my interest in the argument stated in the article “Is Female to Male as Nature Is to Culture?” by Sherry B. Ortner. I deliberately create a context that references industrial, masculine culture so that my female forms can exist within it and of it, moving freely on their own accord but also being connected to that culture. This begins to strip away the masculine stigma of industrial construction and adds a strong femininity to it. A female form can be strong in this environment. The re-bar movement is methodical, yet it breaks off into unplanned directions. The figures are often created using oil pastel. I love using this material because it is very fluid, like water, and feels like a feminine material. It also can be applied with energy and control. It is important to me that the forms are of the environment but separated at the same time, because they should be able to exist outside of this environment as well as in it. The more uncontained the form is, the more empowered she becomes.”
Opening Reception – April 12, 3-5pm