"Exhibiting You" - Story

Perfect 8

De-objectifying People

By: Diana Schmertz
Submitted: 04/30/2008

Perfect 8 is a publication dedicated to the de-objectification of people. It contains mostly visual works from various artists who encourage the growth of empathy in people through their artistic medium. It works to fight against such attitudes by asking people to question how they view others and by encouraging empathy.

Perfect, defined as “lacking nothing essential to the whole”, (dictionary.com), combined with the number 8, (which refers to a deficient score in the conventional rating system of our culture, - 8 out of 10), forms a new expression conveying a sentiment and recognition of the beauty found within the imperfections of people. Perfect also being defined as “complete of its nature or kind”, (dictionary.com), lends itself to the view that the individual can only be construed as perfect when all attributes of the whole person are acknowledged.

To deconstruct a myth perpetrated in our society that people are objects and obtainable products, Perfect 8 engages viewers and readers on an empathetic level, attempting to induce a curiosity, and ultimately a questioning of what it would be like to experience the feelings of an other. This is done by offering an alternative to the concept of a “Perfect 10” as one without faults, frailties, or weaknesses. Perfect 8 celebrates an unveiled humanity, one that embraces the beauty found in these “faulty” qualities.

In my artwork on the body, which is featured in Perfect 8, I paint large bold marks to create impressions of light falling across the flesh of the body. Mostly close-up images of embracing figures, my paintings are an expression of the interrelatedness between people. The physical contact between the flesh of these bodies reveals the psychological relationship embodied beneath the surface of their skin.

While the works are figurative and representational, the compositions create quite an abstracted image. There is confusion within the compositions, created by the view-point of the observer, which makes one question where one person ends and the other begins. This is intended to break down the mental fixation of singular entities and reinforces the notion of the interdependence of beings. The application of paint is sensual, revealing an intimacy rooted in the connectedness of all things.

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