My current series of portraits represents a synthesis of science and pop art. During my studies at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and through my work at the Field Museum, I developed a passion for scientific illustration, which has become an integral facet of my artistic vision. As a female artist, I have spent a number of years examining the ways in which women are portrayed in popular culture, particularly the ways in which attractiveness and sexuality are valued, used and exploited by the observer. To that end, I seized upon the iconographic potency of the pop culture â€śpin-up girl,â€ť a genre which has become a universally recognizable symbol of female sexuality in Western culture. By applying my abilities as a scientific illustrator to these distilled images of women-as-objects, I have found a new way of exploring the themes of beauty, sex, and objectification.
Often when we look at an attractive person, we see only their surface qualities and neglect to question what underlies their skin-deep beauty. Indeed, rarely do we ask ourselves exactly what the fundamental elements are that make another so pleasing to behold. At first glance, a pin-up model is simply erotic, and is only meant to tantalize and entertain our fantasies. This reduces the model to a mere object of desire. But when we ask ourselves, with a more scientific eye toward causes and effects, what makes them so beautiful, we begin to investigate how the structure of their body is formed and what it is that makes that structure pleasing to us. We are literally peeling back the faĂ§ade of beauty and peering underneath. This is when we realize that thereâ€™s more than meets the eye, as beauty and anatomy are collapsed into a single, complex moment. The removal of the flesh reminds us that we are all, under the surface, composed of complicated networks of bone, flesh, and blood, not to mention thoughts, hopes, beliefs, dreams. These are all fundamental parts of what make us human. In this sense, then, muscular and vascular anatomy have become the means through which I explore the meanings and intentions behind representations of females as sexual objects.