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Wednesday, April 22 • 1:20pm - 1:40pm
Turning the Gaze: Zoe Leonard’s Anatomical Models Series

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In the eighteenth century, the Western medical field approached the female body as a foil to the neutral male form based upon Christian ideals and sexual taboos. Depictions of women in medical textbooks as well as anatomical models furthered the idea of women as classicized, submissive reproductive vessels. Zoe Leonard, in her 1992 photographic series “Anatomical Models” examines these eighteenth century relics through an interventionist, feminist lens. Referencing crime scene photography of the Black Dahlia, cabinet cards, and classic horror films to create a gothic tone Leonard assigns modern implications to eighteenth century objects. Through her use of black and white, analogue photography Leonard creates narratives of empathy for the models as well as constructs a sense of exploitation. The Anatomical Models series contextualizes Zoe Leonard within a feminist art movement of the 1990s focused on the carnal body, her contemporaries empower their own bodies through contrasting viscera with conventionally passive femininity. This research aims to prove that Zoe Leonard utilizes modern visual cues to highlight the continued impact of the male gaze on representations of women. The anatomical models of Leonard’s series become timeless representations of women as victims to the male and medical gaze.


Wednesday April 22, 2015 1:20pm - 1:40pm
237 Owen Hall

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