The oil painting series Distortion is intended to highlight the societal lenses that often affect the way people view themselves. Self image can be distorted by a number of different factors, such as media influences, societal expectations, pressure from peers, and other daily challenges. The encouragement of comparison that is instilled in society today often manifests itself in eating disorders, lower levels of self esteem, and issues with self confidence. By depicting the human figure behind glass vessels filled with water, I hope to comment on the ways the image of the self can be distorted. Through exploring the relationship between a distorted image of the human body as seen through glass vessels, it is my intention to bring attention to the universality of the distortion of self.
This collection of six oil paintings ranges in size and proportion. Wood panels from 24 in x 24 in, to 24 in x 48 in, and various sizes in between, each image contains both a human figure and an assortment of glass vessels. The glasses are intended to refract, reflect, and distort the features of the figures to illustrate the fragile nature of one’s perception of self. The combination of still life and portraiture is utilized to achieve composition with optimum distortion.
This thesis investigates how the perception of self can be distorted by various lenses, by exploring the relationship between glass vessels and the human body as a vessel of the self. The purpose of this thesis is to uncover how self-perception can be distorted, corrupted, or damaged by outside influences, and to highlight the importance of the human body as harboring and protecting the essence of an individual. The questions under investigation will include; 1.) What influences and distorts self-perception? 2.) How does self-perception relate to self-esteem? 3.) How can Art Therapy mend one’s relationship with their own body? A method of arts-based research was used to answer these questions. The researcher produced a series of six oil paintings, rendering the human figure distorted by glass vessels filled with water. The collection was created between October 2019 and May 2020.