News
Menu

News

Read here about what I have been working on and general commentary about my making practice and creative thoughts.

You can also follow me on Twitter and Instagram:
https://twitter.com/sorayasmithson/
https://www.instagram.com/sorayasmithson/

Semi-Perfect Containers.

9th January 2018

In my print practice, based at Leicester Print Workshop, I work across multiple mediums and concurrent projects simultaneously. I use different print processes for different pieces of work but always with a desire to play and to push this conventionally 2D medium into 3D, or even 4D by taking it into film. My means of making is always ideas led. First the what, then the how.

Asked to be part of an exhibition of stone lithographers who make work at Leicester print workshop I embarked on a new piece in collaboration with another female artist, Anna Reading, who makes films as part of her sculptural practice.

As a late middle-aged woman I find the representation of women and the female form within society ever more grating. Women’s roles, aspirations and expressions of self are contained and prescribed by an overbearing masculine formula of what it means to be female and how females should think and behave.

I feel women are boxed in, their lives prescribed by a set of rules and judgements that differ from those of males. This new piece of work unpacks some of the complexities inherent in the female dichotomy.  We are ourselves but also perform as we perceive we should, with ultra feminine desires, fictionalised body form, ordained beauty, as domestic goddesses, profuse child bearers and raisers, as career women and as the juggler supreme. To be female is a confusing state.

In this piece of work I examined these issues using a flattened out box form as a template onto which I lithographically printed three ages of womanhood. Three grid patterns representing female skin from youth, through middle age to old age.

Skin is our primary boundary between our inner selves and the outside world. Skin is the box that contains the physical mush of organs and flesh and our mental notion of self. Our skin is the barrier between the outside and the inside. It protects us from invasion by the elements whilst keeping our shape.

The flattened out box shape is a metaphor; it is an external surface seemingly advertising the content. It is to be gazed upon, and in this context prescribed femininity is projected onto it. But what is really held within the box? The folded box encases the internal self, real female feelings, thoughts, longing, insecurities and secrets.

Sometimes being boxed-in is a positive. To be contained and to have boundaries can be good. It makes one feel secure and can be convenient at certain stages in one’s life, such as motherhood. And to have a space of one’s own is liberating, but being boxed-in can become restrictive and quickly becomes a trap that is hard to escape from. Negotiating between being boxed in, or just a receptacle of prescribed mannerisms and an autonomous and respected being is hard.