Rebecca Uliasz - Artist Statement

When people interact with each other, the face is the focal point of their attention. Faces are recognizable and individual and are the external part of a person most closely associated with their outward identity. However, despite the fact that the face plays such a large part in identification, it presents such a limited view on the true identity of an individual because it only conveys what they choose to outwardly express. There is always so much more to an individual than what we realize- than what meets our eye. In my body of paintings, I hope to be able to explore the relationship between outward and inward sense of identification by depicting subjects exploring internal aspects of their identity through portraiture.
I chose to specifically focus on female portraiture to explore the relationship that the female identity to the social construct of what is acceptable/unacceptable to portray in society. Our own constructed female identities impose certain boundaries that go so far as to control which emotions we feel are appropriate to express and even which are appropriate to internalize. These constructs raise important question which I attempt to explore through my paintings: How can a woman express her own internalized emotions, thoughts, and desires without sacrificing her femininity? How does the ever-changing construct of femininity effect what is acceptable for her to reveal/ suppress? Through the literal “blurring” of boundaries in my series of oil paintings, I attempt to explore how the construct of femininity shapes the boundaries on how a woman must present herself to others versus how she truly feels within.

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