Gender Essay in Art.
The later 20th century saw the manifestation of the Post-Modernism, in which the use of appropriation and re-contextualisation was developed to test previous conventional depictions of gender in the visual arts. Artists Yasumasa Morimura, Julie Rrap, Anne Zahalka and Cindy Sherman have each employed the use of appropriation to question the historical ideologies of gender, particularly in relation to women, and their role in art and society. They all borrowed past paintings and promoted them with new context to portray and explore different meanings towards gender, being mediated.
Yasumasa Morimura appropriated historical works through the applications of modern technology and questioning the female gender. Morimura also has a scrutiny
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Sunbather #2’ is clearly a homage to or appropriation of Max Dupain's iconic ‘Sunbaker’ image. The sleek, bronzed original in black and white has been replaced in brilliant colour by a pale and rather scrawny red-head. While Australian Beach Pattern is a representation of all that is stereotypically Australian (bronzed chiselled figures relaxed and at home on the beach), The Bathers is an obvious testament to the Zahalka’s “interest in issues relating to the representation of gender and national identity” with the female figures being in positions of prominence in the image and including people of different physical builds and ethnic backgrounds. The figures are not all ‘typical Australians’ in the sense that they are not all sun bronzed, athletic White Australians.
Cindy Sherman is an American artist, similarly dealing with constructions of gender and identity. She is best classified as a feminist as the majority of her work is thematically concerned with female identity, critiquing both historical and current social and cultural classifications of women in western society. Feminist critic Dora Maar has noted that Sherman’s work purports that “as far as femininity goes, there is nothing but costume.” Indeed her methodology like Morimura is to use her own image