2nd Year Reviews: Michelle Rupel by Jiaqi Kou

Micheal Rupel is a feminist artist exploring how the female body is viewed in contemporary society. In her previous work, she explored the meaning of beauty and how women are expected to appear or behave in order to be considered beautiful. Thinking about these concepts deeply, she discusses these issues by using different lenses and mediums. She mostly works with digital arts and writing.

Indeed, there are many rules, principles, and certain ways that are built within society to measure what beautiful means and how it should be presented. But Michelle didn’t just stop at the point of how females become objects to be viewed. Her recent works moved even deeper from last year’s projects. She is concerned about the actual damage, both psychological and physical, that are given by  society to women. She observes how women become infected by the hunger of beauty, and how women are consumed by the desire to be beautiful. It is not just rules, there is force, which causes them to reach this point. What happens is that they’re actually hurting themselves. Michelle cares about all of this  intangible phenomena that exist in society – the online violence, the “definitions” of beauty which drive women’s desire to become beautiful within these contexts. She uses the figures from Renaissance paintings and works with them digitally. She uses words – bullying and abusive words found online – and combines them with the edited figures together to convey her concept.

To learn more about Michelle’s work and her process please visit http://heyitsmichellerenee.tumblr.com/

As part of the second-year graduates’ Thesis Projects I course, candidates were each assigned two of their cohort to review. As students begin writing their thesis papers and constructing artist statements, this review process proves to be beneficial twofold. Students not only exercise their written critique skills, but are able to read about their own project from other voices. Over the next few weeks we’ll be posting these reviews, so be sure to visit regularly for insights and photos of the second years’ progress!

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