Bodies of Water

Portrait of Sarah
Portrait of Sarah, Medium: Oil on canvas, Size: 30” x 24”, Year: © 2020
Portrait of Ashley M.
Portrait of Ashley M., Medium: Oil on canvas, Size: 30”x 24”, Year: © 2020
Portrait of Ashley A.
Portrait of Ashley A., Medium: Oil on canvas, Size: 24” x 30”, Year: © 2020
Portrait of Katy
Portrait of Katy, Medium: Oil on canvas, Size: 24” x 30”, Year: © 2020

Artist Information and Statement

Katy Burdge
BFA Candidate

I create art to put into the world my own personal visions, the things I can express visually rather than verbally or written. My goal is to add my work to those that hang in museums and galleries, as well as to share my vision of what is attractive, both in terms of art and the female form.

My interest and experience with feminism has had an impact and has helped to develop my current body of work. This project explores the empowerment of people of all shapes and sizes during a time in which they are vulnerable. It is a series of paintings of women in swimsuits on the beach, focusing on themes including feminism, self-confidence, and standards of what is considered beautiful and aesthetically pleasing. It is inspired by the struggle and doubts faced by many during a time dubbed “swimsuit season,” particularly the months during which we are baring and revealing ourselves to the eyes of those around us. We fight the urge to cover up as much as possible, as we judge ourselves using the unrealistic or impossible standards of “beauty” created by our culture and society.

My process is to photograph people that I know at the beach and choose one as a reference for each painting. I use familiar people because I believe it allows them to be more at ease and expressive and makes a more intimate subject for my paintings. It also creates an open dialogue between my models and myself, as we learn from each other during the photography process. I give each model freedom to dress and pose in any way that makes them feel comfortable and attractive, because “beauty” is subjective. I want them to feel relaxed and in control, so decision-making is shared with each person I paint. My hope is that this series will inspire an appreciation for the human body beyond conventional “beauty” standards.