Eva Schach, an art history and visual arts major at Barnard College, shares and talks about a piece from her recent art collection.
A couple months ago, Playboy issued a college spread, featuring a very, very peripheral acquaintance of mine from high school. Knowing this individual in real life, I was struck by the plasticity and manipulation of her body in the photographs. Though most (heteronormative) porn depicts extremely manicured female bodies, I found this article most off-putting because I had some idea of what she looked like in real life.
So, I began a series in which I painted ‘real’ bodies, inspired by the bodies my close friends. I chose to crop the bodies and isolate particular areas of interest, areas most commonly highlighted by the porn industry. By removing heads, I remove the body’s identifier and to some extent the woman’s personhood, creating both a universal body and an anonymous female body, personality removed, like that of the porn star. However, in this “grotesque-ness” emerges a very real beauty.
In this particular piece, I focus on breasts. I myself have very small conical breasts, and, in watching porn, I developed an unnatural perception of what large breasts actually look like. Porn portrays large breasts as stiff objects of male play. Yet, after talking to friends who actually had larger breasts, I realized the true beauty in the breast shape. A full breast that hangs. A full breast with a larger nipple. Or perhaps with a smaller nipple. I realized that breasts, both large and small, vary immensely. And, despite these fluctuations, all are beautiful.