Elizabeth Malaska VS MFA Thesis 2011
Tramps and animals: Women, painting, and the abject body
We’ve come a long way, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. Despite living in a postmodern, secular, and supposedly liberated world, shame, terror, rage and violence continue to characterize humanity’s response to that which is unfamiliar, messy, difficult to define, or strange.
Tramps and Animals: Women, Painting, and the Abject Body explores the connections between femininity, power, painting, and abjection, and the ways in which these forces inform modes of existing—in the world and in our own skins. This thesis uses feminist tactics to examine psychoanalysis, history, film and paintings, both contemporary and historical. Capitalism’s connection to the history of witches is investigated as a defining moment in the cultural subjugation of the female body. This work also weaves in explorations of the outer edges of the permissible, including bestiality and the author’s personal experience skinning and butchering animals as metaphors of transgression and liberation. Ultimately, it is this author’s interest to aid in the struggle to evolve human consciousness in the creation of a better world for all beings, paintings and animals included.
Awarded the 2011 MFA Visual Studies Faculty Award