Female Figure - Idols and Shame


Wed - Sat, Mar 30 to Apr 30, 5:00pm - 6:00pm


Harvard Mather House - Sandra Naddaff and Leigh Hafrey Three Columns Gallery

Presented by: Mather House Faculty Deans
Admission: Free and open to the public. For non-Mather faculty and staff, please stop by the Building Manager's or the House Administrator's Office for access to the galleries.  
OPENING RECEPTION: Wednesday, April 30, 5-6 PM

Female Figure: Idols and Shame - Oil paintings by Serena Eggers Mather Class of 2017, Visual and Environmental Studies Concentrator 

This series considers the female figure in art generally, and specifically the concepts of idolization, the shameful, and where those two phenomena overlap. It explores my own preoccupations—both visual and conceptual—within those themes. All of the paintings consist of oil on primed canvas, painted with brushes, palette knives, rags, and in some cases my fingers. One of my goals was to explore the relationships of the paint and the surface to the subject matter—texture, translucency, violence and smoothness of mark, and the emergence and distortion of images through layering. In a few of the paintings I considered the idea of digital photo filters (which are essential to contemporary methods of idolizing and shaming the female figure); filtering in a more metaphorical sense is also relevant. I dealt additionally with questions of body image, sexuality and violence, gender roles, and mental health or fractured self-knowledge. A few of the paintings are deeply personal; others are intended as icons—Marilyn Monroe, a lipstick-smeared mouth—that carry more universal associations.