It feels a grandiose understatement to point out that, historically, the representation of women has been troubled, problematic, and violent in its incarnations within the visual arts.
The resultingly voyeuristic cultural consciousness has historically conflated women and women’s experience with an image of a corporeal body that exists as spectacle (and is, correspondingly, valued according to its alignment with racist, ableist and cis-normative ideas of desirability). As Legacy Russell states, ‘We use “body” to give material form to an idea that has no form, an assemblage that is abstract. The concept of a body houses within it social, political, and cultural discourses, which change based on where the body is situated and how it is read.' (2020:8).
Artistically speaking, I want to explore a severance of feeling, and being, from the corporeal. Line, I will suggest, is one alternate methodology to creatively articulate feminine selfhood, whilst evading full depiction of the body. Line, as a playful and perpetually incomplete force, provides visual and linguistic alternatives to The Body as endpoint. I will not suggest that line could be universally representative of all women’s experience (nor should it ever attempt to be). The male gaze (Mulvey 1975) is not monolithic; there is no universal form of resistance to it. For this reason, I propose the methodology of line as just one alternative space for thought on how feminine experience and selfhood could be expressed creatively.
What happens when we use art to visualise experience, without simply drawing the body? When we actively sever ourselves from the body? What does that visual information look; feel; sound like? Questions...questions...questions…