Ella Milenova
Oct 21, 2014 3:19AM

From the latter half of the 19th century onward, we are focusing on the role of women as the subject of lust and repulsion, of life-giver and annihilator. These powerful dichotomies inform the audience on how to view and participate with the female sex in art, as sinewy sexual objects beckoning arousal, as mother figures respectable only in their allegiance to the classical Madonna, as histrionic harpies, or as the treacherous seductress. These limited representations of the functions of women in late 19th-21st century art create a contrived and narrow notion of the female as a malleable creature, whose inner life is as condensed as a pictorial plane.

Several approaches employing different themes evince these oft-repeated representations of women in art.  Picasso’s curvy nudes and Utamaro’s Lovers encourage an obvious sexual discourse, and Toulouse-Lautrec piques a voyeuristic interest in its overt portrayal of the prostitute, as Degas’ rich painting implies her isolation. Paul Klee and Picasso depict female emotion as the absurd and dramatic, while Jordon Wolfson delves further into dealing with the artifice of the female representation by creating a horrified femme-bot, repelled by her own image. 

No Loyalty to the Robot explores the ways in which limiting the breadth of the female experience as represented in art circumvents our ideas about women as fully human. There can be no humane treatment, no loyalty and no basic empathy towards the sex that is represented as caricature in roles so contrived they are systematically formulated in art spanning a century and a half. This exhibit aims at shedding light on some of these artifices and beckons the viewer to see each work not within its own right, but within the context of exaggerated and oft-used clichés that have allowed for women to be reduced to femme-bots. 

Ella Milenova