Isabelle McCormick

Region: MFA Annual

City / State: St Paul, MN

 Painting is a way for me to navigate the distance between the bodily self and social media façade. Wading in this space between helps me better understand what it means to be a woman and artist in our hyperbolic world of retouching apps and reality TV. At the meeting of technology and art history, I examine the relationship between self-surveillance and feminine archetypes enmeshed in the Venus tradition. I rethink the goddess’s gestures and the anticipated voyeuristic gaze—represented in my work as the smartphone camera lens. There is a reverence for techne in my formal approach that redoubles this investment in art history. I employ traditional oil painting techniques to render virtual space and further unpack how Internet culture remodels the visual language of femininity. A hollow, stand-alone avatar emerges across my paintings. Plastic and malleable, seductively painted. She is glued to the screen, her iPhone a phantom limb. Living in a society where the pressures of “la bella figura” pervade, the battle over the female body has become the material meat of my work.