From the beginning of my college career I knew that I would be studying fine arts. However, when it came time to start my Senior Individualized Project I was nevertheless nervous and overwhelmed. After reviewing other sources of inspiration and drawing from my own, I eventually began work on "Saffron." For the remainder of the summer going into fall, I toiled in the studio in an effort to produce something that displayed the "lighter side" of art. In other words, I desired work that was less about symbolic or political meaning and more about aesthetic pleasure, or creating an intimacy with the viewer. I preferred to evoke light-hearted feelings that one may feel when viewing art in a children's book, for example. I did not want to raise question or debate in my paintings. While I may have achieved these things, my work inevitably did spur question, if not in the viewer, in my own mind. The piece that comes to mind is Saffron, which depicts a woman with four children in her arms. I came to question its strength during an on-line discussion bordering on what it is to be a strong woman today. Many felt that symbols of traditional feminine qualities, i.e. motherhood, were not as sufficient as those of self-strength or having a career per se. However, I feel that motherhood is selfstrength, and that women should celebrate their differences from men rather than try and erase them. Thus, images like that in Saffron are strong symbols that do, in fact, produce political relevance. I also realized how directly personal my work became, which was another aspect I had somewhat wished to refrain from. I had simply intended to produce images free of all personal or political value and ended up doing the opposite. In many of my paintings I realize I have painted an image or symbol of myself. Saffron is the largest indicator of this, as eventually having children is vital to me, and I am eerily experiencing maternal instincts and desires. Heartbeat, which shows a doctor holding people in an enclosed city, also shows my instincts to care and provide for others. Thus, I achieved the opposite of my intentions. However, this only made me closer to my work, and I grew increasingly proud of my project that once held so many insecurities.
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