There’s a lot to be said about women’s portrayal in both art and media. But while images of women in contemporary art might reflect society’s views of them, some artists choose to turn these images on their head, provoking the viewer and raising questions about the complex politics of identity.
Sarah Rupp’s women portraits aren’t meant to be pleasing. Intentionally distorted, they underline the constant tension between beauty and strangeness, traditional beauty and untraditional beauty.
The images themselves are created as a sort of mish-mash—a mix of collage art and painting—with a special interest in the female gaze. “I am always drawn to faces, and I am most captivated by the gaze,” explained Rupp in an interview with Art of Choice. “I try to depict a strong female gaze very often in my work.”
According to Rupp, there is a lot of mystery and vulnerability in the eyes, and more specifically—the gaze. “It creates a dialogue between the viewer and subject, even a connection, and that’s important to me,” she notes. It also stands to highlight the importance of both physical and psychological aspects of her portraits, drawing the viewer closer to her subjects.
“I’ve depicted the female figure since I started painting, even before school,” recalled Rupp. “I’ve never had the desire to paint anything else.” Scroll down to see some of her work.