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Title: “An Exercise in Domesticity” 
Author: Baxter, Elizabeth
Date: 2006-08
Abstract: The installation an exercise in domesticity began with some sculptures I was creating that I referred to as Venus figures. I have been interested in the idea of body image for a number of years, looking at and questioning how people view their own bodies and others, as well as how contemporary culture helps to form or create these views. Within this, there are many different avenues to explore such as sexuality, ideal beauty, ownership, and control. These ideas have surfaced in my work in a variety of ways over the years. With the Venus figures I was first interested in exploring the restrictions placed upon the body by fashion and the media, and later expanded this to include ideas about sexuality and reproduction. More recently I have become intrigued by the various ways science and nature interact and have an impact on the human body, both mentally and physically, as well as on the surrounding environment. Within this there is a lot of gray area and a lot of unknowns. Science can help with creating perfect, smooth skin on both apples and people. This is no longer natural, but not necessarily bad either. Nobody wants their food to be insect-ridden. And yet, most people have at one time eaten a perfect looking tomato that has no taste. Still these tasteless tomatoes seem to be winning out, as any trip to the supermarket will most likely confirm. The preference for "natural" is perhaps fading, or at least our ideas of what constitutes natural are no longer clear. And does it matter anyway? An August 2005 article in Vogue magazine discussed how it has recently become acceptable in major metropolises for woman to go out with the scars and bruises from their Botox and plastic surgery still clearly visible. What this suggests is perhaps that the preference for the natural is fading and that one no longer needs to feel ashamed of one's quest for superficial beauty. Tying these ideas and questions together is the human need or desire for control. In my insta1lation there are elements of the organic and inorganic, and of the controllable and uncontrollable. There is a kind of abstract narrative built up with the ideas and concerns mentioned above as the foundation. Some aspects or concerns are much more apparent than others, and yet what is important is that the viewer questions the interaction between the various objects and is encouraged to come up with varying and/or multiple interpretations.
Description: Thesis (M.F.A.)--University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2006.
Pages/Duration: iv, 37 leaves
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/20330
Rights: All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.

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