Portrait #5

Limited Edition

John Barnard

United States


John Barnard

"Current dominant corporate culture creates a powerful, universal norm of what it is to be feminine, beautiful, and desirable. Voices and desires of women are overridden by the overwhelmingly white male narrative and are under-represented in social, economic, and cultural spheres. An idealized visual identity of women's bodies becomes part of the battlefield for consumer dollars. Feminine voice and identity cannot take up their full measure. Males, by imposing their cultural values on women, disturb the balance possible between opposing masculine and feminine forces and create a caricature of nature.

The Western standard of beauty promises that when women conform to this dominant narrative, they will achieve a happy and successful life. Culture and the media exert such a powerful influence that women--and men--can unwittingly accept a system of beliefs and actions that is neither economically nor spiritually advantageous.

While we avail ourselves of the cultural riches of the world, we must remind ourselves that we inherit a culture created out of male dominance. Who are the beneficiaries of the cultural imperialism and exploitation of women? How is it that we unwittingly propagate these values, spending our lives being defined by words unspoken? How can I deepen into my own consciousness of these forces to foster change in the balance of power?

I want to add my voice to the call for gender equality in all aspects of society and culture. We must all recognize our complicity in the broader conditions of subjugation so that we can fight to achieve human equality.

I was taught the importance of our social responsibility to the environment. I became an abstract expressionist painter when I attended graduate school. Landscape became my first serious photographic pursuit. Photography became more important because I could express abstractions and simultaneously express a social/political narrative.

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Artist Information
LocationUnited States
EducationMFA University of Washington
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