Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

King Creativity at Southwestern

The Inside Outweighs All (And the Outside Weighs Too Much)

by: Hillary Mueller
Advisor: Mary Hale Visser

My King Creativity project, along with my senior sculpture exhibition, take a look at female body image in our society today. In my work, I focus on the everyday examination and deconstruction of the female body. The idea for my project came while I was reading a current women’s magazine. Throughout this magazine I was bombarded with weight loss advertisements and articles on how to change my body. This assault is not only in articles and limited to words but is present in pictures as well. Most of these visual advertisements show women, on an average, fifteen percents below their ideal body weight. A false sense of reality is formed when women view these images. I believe that today’s media had a huge influence on why and estimated fifty percent of high school girls have eating disorders. These girls are trying to reach this unattainable goal that is presented by the media and is unrealistic for their bodies.

My visual idea was to show the female figure staged in a scene so the viewer may examine the body like the female body is observed everyday in our society. I planned to accomplish this by creating four different body shapes; one large chested figure, one thin figure, one figure with broad hips and one voluptuous figure. To express the idea of examining the body, I took inspiration form butterfly specimen cases. I found a common theme in looking and scrutinizing over the details of these butterflies similar to the constant analysis of women’s body in our society. Therefore in keeping with this idea, I encased my figures in wooden frame with glass on both sides. By framing and encasing these bodies I am able to show how the female figure is put display at all times. Every case and figure has its own theme. Some are paired with song lyrics, others are covered in weight lose articles from magazines, while even others have straight pins pressed into them. All of these bodies express some emotion that has been felt by myself or my friends, while talking about this issue of body image. My resulting set of sculptures express the issues that women in our society must deal with everyday.

I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to create this project with my King Grant. It has allowed me to explore my artistic options and expand my way of thinking. The results of my project will be on exhibition in the Fine Arts Gallery from April 12-23, as part of my senior exhibition entitled Looking Through, along with Andrew Arnold’s show entitled Drawings from Life.