BFA Thesis Exhibit

Carrie Dugan


Artist Statement

I find myself reluctantly drawn to conventional female beauty: an hourglass silhouette, large eyes, and full lips. Conceptually, I am offended by today's beauty standards disguised as female empowerment. We are supposed to find strength in these oversexualized goddesses presented to us; however, these beings fulfill beauty standards deeply rooted in patriarchal ideals. Despite knowing beauty's problematic existence, I find myself drawn to endless images of impossibly gorgeous women. My figures capture this complex, internal conflict in a bizarre manner. They are both beautiful in their exaggeration and ugly in their distortion. I specifically exaggerate unhealthy body standards, such as an absurdly thin waist, to emphasize what I find morally disgusting and yet most aesthetically pleasing about today's body standards. Within the paintings are moments of delicate beauty as well as raw, awkward, and violent gestures. I challenge traditional femineity, associated with poise and delicacy, with my materiality. The charcoal mixes with the paint, giving the oil paints a grungy appearance. The women are both stunning and strange in their own right. To create this world of women, I collage several glamour shots from sources like fashion magazines to create a single being that is both cohesive and disjointed. With my paintings, I capture the complex and current dilemma of women's empowerment in feminism.