VMPA Senior Thesis

Victoria Pagan-Perez



As an Intermedia/Electronic Arts and a Digital Studies major, my natural inclination is to gravitate towards a multitude of mediums and styles. I often gravitate towards sculpture, painting, and photography/film as my main mediums of choice. My art brings things that are uncomfortable to the forefront, like the decay of beauty through time or the male gaze. For example, one of my biggest themes is the absurdity of the male gaze and the abstraction that gaze makes of the female form.

After I lost a lot of weight, I noticed how men looked at me differently. They looked at me before with disgust, but now they look at me as if I am to be consumed, with no choice in the matter. This is a subject that every woman knows to an almost painful extent, as they are forced to live as objects to be consumed, whereas most males don’t even see the problem in the first place or choose to ignore it. I set out to put the feeling of being on display, being consumed due to your curves, into a visual form, a form that can’t be ignored.

When COVID-19 hit, I had to work in my home, abandoning the body of sculpture that I had been working on in the fine arts studio. The one resulting work that I am showing in my thesis show was completely created in my home. It took over my kitchen, my living room, my dining room, and it became like a member of our family. When it came time to photograph it, I realized that I needed to be in dialogue with the work. Hence, the performative nature of the photos and video documented here. I believe I was able to do this due to my background knowledge in community and conceptual art that I gained in Rutgers Camden, which gave me the ability to recognize that my body could be a part of a performative piece. All of this resulted in my piece entitled “Stacey, It’s a Thing”.

Many of my sculptures, you will notice, are bumpy and almost deformed, which is the intent of them. I start out with a rudimentary sketch of the form, that way I can plot out where many of the bumps will be before putting them into a three-dimensional space. Next, for my larger ground pieces, I unravel chicken wire and sketch out the base of the form with a Sharpie on it and then cut it carefully with wire cutters. From there I then repeat the same process with the sides of the form (without the bumps, as they will be added later). After that structure is weaved together with wire fastening the sides to the base, I then cut individual abstract ovular forms out of more chicken wire. Those ovular forms are then fastened onto the standing sculpture and weaved with wire to the statue itself. After this, the resulting form is then covered in paper pulp and then spackled. Acrylic white paint is then applied to the overall piece. Once that is done, I then take white fabrics and hand dye them various natural shades and then rip them into pieces. These pieces are then glued to a side of the sculpture, to reflect the long hair that men value so much in society.