Girl With Pink Hat Analysis

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True West SFMOMA Art Response:
Commercialism of Women in California On the visit to SFMOMA, one of the strongest impression I had about many artworks is the way that many artists portray women as objects consumed by the audiences. The first work attracted me is Wayne Thiebaud’s figurative work “Girl with Pink Hat” created in 1973. Wayne Thiebaud is a representative of the first generation Bay Area figurative movement, which abandoned the prevailing style of Abstract Expressionism and returned to paint figuration. The work portrays a naked woman who wears a pink hat standing in front of a white background. The vivid pink color of her hat contrasts with the nude color of body and the plain background color, which emphasizes the hat as the
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Comparing to how Thiebaud creates art, Joan Brown, a “second generation” artist of Bay Area figurative movement, integrates more personal elements into her self-portrait “Woman Wearing Mask”. In the work, Brown portrays herself as a woman who wears lingerie and red heels standing in a home setting with a purple cat mask. The redness of bra, underwear, and heels highlights the sexual attractiveness of the woman. With a comic effect, the purple cat mask satirizes women’s lack of identity and individualism as the image of their bodies are commercialized. Furthermore, as it was created in 1972, the work also reveals the issue regarding women’s self-image in the Seventies. In the 1970s, the “thin ideal” eventually became dominant in the fashion industry, which potentially affected how women value their self-image. Therefore, on the one hand, the work may convey Brown’s pressure of feeling commercialized as a sexual object, even at home; on the other hand, the artwork may suggest her lack of confidence regarding self-image due to the promotion of “ideal” beauty. Her emotion delivered through this artwork suggests that commercialism is not only an issue in the fashion industry but also a psychological barrier

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