Isabelle McCormick

Region: MFA Annual

City / State: St Paul, MN

 Born just after the launch of the World Wide Web, I paint as a way to digest digital zeitgeist through the handmade. Still, I question whether modern technologies have ushered in an era of empowered self-expression for women or reinforce patriarchal motifs. I am struck by the centrality of the Venus figure throughout the complicated history of Western art. The influence of the Venus pudica tradition endures even today across the landscape of social media, where selfhood operates as currency. In the age of the nude #sel e, I revisit the bathing goddess’s gestures and the implicit presence of the voyeuristic gaze. A hollow, stand- alone avatar emerges across my work. Plastic and malleable, seductively painted. She is glued to the screen, her iPhone a phantom limb. There is a reverence for “techne” in my formal approach, which seesaws between digital and painterly. I paint to slow down, filter the good of online spectacle, and consider what it means to be a woman and artist in our hyperbolic world of retouching apps and reality TV.