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Lisa Yuskavage

Lisa Yuskavage is a graduate of Temple University where she earned her masters of fine art. Most of her work is of the female body and done with oil paint on canvas and usually done with just a few strong colors. (1) Most of Yuskavages paintings represent the female body in unrealistic and fairly derogatory manor. Many of her pieces depict naked women with abnormally disproportioned bodies; some with big butts, and boobs, and, some of them are actually pictured masturbating as in: Big Blonde with Beaded Jacket, 1997, and True Blonde, 1999. (2) Her art is very direct and in your face, it could even be considered a form of soft core porn to some. She wants to force the viewer to see these sexualized subjects, and even make them feel uncomfortable. She takes the female body and makes it into a confrontational representation. I feel slightly uncomfortable looking at most of her pieces but at the same time I find that they are quite beautiful.

I think that Lisa inspired by not only sexuality but what sexuality means and how it can be uniquely presented to society through her art. (1) She gets most of her ideas from personifying her portraits and making them come alive, I think she also draws from the ideas society has of what women’s bodies are “supposed? to look like and shows us that disproportions like big hips and butts can be beautiful too. Yuskavage makes her art to try and shock her audience and make them see a different side to sexuality, one that’s more raw, but not necessarily more real.

Lisas art is outspoken and unusual. I think I would probably compare her art, or at least the message of her art to Nan Golden because like Lisa, Nan’s art is shocking and it brings up social schemes and addresses them head on, in spite of the confrontational subject matter. Golden and Yuskavage both use images to bring up feminist rights and struggles as well. While Golden’s is more obvious with images of battered women, Yuskavage uses womens sexuality to show how we are somewhat captured in our own skin. Goldens use of photography made her messages much more realistic but not necessarily more powerful. I also think that Nans work was more controversial because there isn’t any debating that what you see isn’t real.

If I were telling a friend about Lisa Yuskavages art I would probably describe it as a bit graphic and I would warn them about the sexual images because I don’t think they are for everyone. I would possibly tell a friend to check out Lisa Yuskavages work, it would depend on weather or not I think they would be offended by her work. Her art isn’t for everyone, and it isn’t my personal favorite, however I do think it’s interesting.