Shoshanna Weinberger’s “Pin-ups” series features abstracted renditions of the black female body that combine history, cultural expectations, body image and cultural expectations. Her seemingly abstract images are actually a grotesque essence derived from the global vision of what the black female body is. According the the artist,
The cultural history of female exposé, presentation and excessive notions of beauty drives my work. As an artist, I find the idea of what popular culture defines as feminine beauty to be skewed and distorted.
My drawings identify with beauty both physiologically and politically, making connections of awkwardness as a female growing-up in a society obsessed with attaining beauty result in imagery that depicts this as warped excess. Images resulting in malformed and decapitated bodies, with cornrow braids, Afros, unkept locks and pigtails; mutations of multiple-mouths, breasts and buttocks; creating a sense of familiarity, confusion, humor and tension.
I explore contemporary connections, cultural stereotypes and historical women who have been subjugated into modern-day Hottentots. I find this beauty distortion in prepubescent pageant toddlers, strippers, Hollywood-icons, West-Indian Dancehall performers, extreme plastic surgery and even myself.
These figures are tangled, hogtied and wearing props associated with femininity such as bras, thongs, jewelry, make-up and high-heels. Some of the bodies are defiled with graffiti typically found in bathroom stalls. Like tattoos, scars or hieroglyphs, the graffiti covers the forms alluding to mating and desire.
The drawings refer to the psychology of coexisting in human and animal form as well as forms both grotesque and sexualized. Confronting how women survey themselves and examine each other along with how women are displayed for male desire plays into female beauty are a part of my work.
Shoshanna Weinberger lives and works in Newark, New Jersey. For more information on her work visit her website.