Meghan Bean

Meghan_Bean-01_Form

Form (12″ x 9″), watercolor on paper, $200

Meghan_Bean-02_Untitled

Untitled (24″ x 18″), watercolor on paper, $250

My current studio practice is invested in analyzing the parallels between the visual representation of the female form and animals (or meat) found in popular images and ideas, and throughout the history of painting. My work raises the questions of why and how each are rendered as consumable bodies within a patriarchal society, and from the perspective of the male gaze. I draw on an abundance of historical paintings and scrutinize the various representational patterns. I also explore the visual devices used to pique one’s appetite in diverse sources such as grocery store advertisements, pornographic magazines, foodie blogs and Instagram. I examine how our highly voyeuristic culture praises shock and spectacle, while exploiting the Other to gratify our own tastes. This seductive imagery similarly portrays certain bodies as desirable objects, and almost to the point of interchangeability.

These specific paintings are inspired by collages created from assembling fragments of found images originally intended to depict both female and animal bodies as visually or sexually consumable. By literally deconstructing these pictures and reassembling them as paintings, I create a new ambiguous, hybrid figure that portrays the female form as self-contained and empowered. The resulting image undermines the original source material and challenges historic and contemporary representational conventions. Influenced by ancient art and goddess imagery from the artwork of the 1960’s, I place the figure at the center of the composition to evoke a sense of power, dominance, and confrontation. Through seductive shape and visceral color, my work seeks to uncover the subtext of coded pictures, provoke paradoxical feelings such as simultaneous desire and disgust, and reframe the idea of feminine allure through a feminist lens.