Progression 2.docx - Jermaine Stokes Professor Wojczuk Writing the Essay April 2019 The Portrayal of Women Modern against Traditional Hopper’s A Woman

Progression 2.docx - Jermaine Stokes Professor Wojczuk...

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Jermaine Stokes Professor Wojczuk Writing the Essay April 2019 The Portrayal of Women: Modern against Traditional Hopper’s A Woman in the Sun hangs proudly on the 7 th floor of the Whitney Museum, one meter by one and a half meters in dimension. This piece displays a young and nude blonde woman, facing 90 degrees away from us, the spectators. Unlit cigarette in hand, the woman hasn’t the slightest look of apprehension, anger, or confusion on her face. All in the same token, the woman has no expression of happiness, or joy. Instead, there’s a seemingly blank look on her face – one showing no emotion. This in turn causes the spectator to examine the woman closer, and upon further inspection, realize that there’s indeed the slightest bit of expression on her face: ponderance. The bedroom that the woman is in, is completely empty, with the exception of an unmade bed and two high heels carelessly stored under it. There also hangs a painting – of which its subject is unclear to us – that the woman faces. There also hangs a single window in the bedroom, through which we can see rolling hills. , and the absence of any suburban lifestyle or neighborhood. What is perhaps most noteworthy, however, is the sunlight that completely bathes the woman. Not only does it cover her, but it takes possession of her. This is notable because through this medium, she is carefully placed before us viewers. Seeing how tangibly the woman is placed before us and in the sunlight, allows us to understand the presence of a gap between life and art. Through this acknowledgement, we not only cast away the role of a viewer gaining sexual gratification from the artwork, but also
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assume the role of the artist Hopper: a silent witness. The woman’s slightly lowered gaze of introspection and non-fascination with the sunlight that envelopes her, are consistent to the idea of a woman being “taught and persuaded to survey herself continually” as John Berger writes in his book “Ways of Seeing” (46 Berger). Berger argues that men survey women before treating them, and that there’s nothing a woman can do that doesn’t contribute to her presence, when featured in a nude artwork. In addition, Berger points out that a woman must continually watch herself, since she’s born into the keeping of a man. In the painting, we see the woman not only look down with a look of ponderance, but her unlit cigarette suggests that she forgotten herself. Her look of ponderance shows her looking into herself, fully aware that the spectators are doing the same. In addition, the woman’s presence, from her introspective gaze, to her upright posture while standing, further develops us viewers’ roles as silent witnesses. The psychological reality of the woman is emphasized over than anything else. One of Hopper’s purposes, through this piece of art, was to leave the viewers questioning the series of events that led to the situation the woman found herself in. Through this, we are stripped of any satisfaction to be gained from the painting,
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