Radford University Scholars' Repository

Smart Girls Know Better

Hehn, Keturie E Smart Girls Know Better. 2016. Radford University,

Available under License Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives.

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Smart Girls Know Better was inspired by a villain from the Oz Book Series, by L. Frank Baum. This character, a vain Princess, possesses a collection of 30 interchangeable heads. Her self-admiration engrosses her time to the detriment of her responsibilities as ruler. Her obsession with personal appearance and its perceived unserious nature inspired the subject matter for this work. However, in contrast to the book, this artwork is about the emotional perspective of the heads, rather than the actions of the headless body. The viewpoint of the heads is one of isolation, helplessness, and inner-conflict. Societal views pit prettiness and intelligence at odds. Choosing between being taken seriously or looking pretty becomes a balancing act. This experience is one many people can relate to when making decisions about personal appearance. These decisions range from makeup, hairstyles, weight management, and even plastic surgery. Regardless of the choices, the results, like the heads, are inevitably on display for public judgment and critique. Reminiscent of vintage advertisements, the large cartoonish bodies represent the traditional societal idyllic female standard. They are interwoven with sewing patterns that measure their perfection, while cloying cut-outs spread a lacy pathogen, infecting the heads around them. Watercolor, gouache, pastel, and paper removal are all utilized in these works. Employing multiple media creates a dissonance between the figurative and figural, contrasting the realistic heads and the illusion of bodily perfection. Art Nouveau, vintage advertisements, lace, sewing patterns, and children’s book illustrations are the types of kitsch art forms I have chosen to embrace for this work because they are often viewed as pretty and therefore unserious, similar to the concept behind my work. Smart Girls Know Better is ultimately a representation of the experience of both the private decision making on personal appearance and the resulting public exhibition. This thesis discusses the subject matter, concept, inspirations, and methods behind this artwork.

Item Type: Thesis
Subjects: N Fine Arts > ND Painting
Divisions: Radford University > College of Visual and Performing Arts > Department of Art
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2016 15:48
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2023 18:09
URI: http://wagner.radford.edu/id/eprint/252

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