Sienna Reid Art

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This series of twelve black and white charcoal drawings on paper is inspired by images I found during my two year research project on the corset and the representation of the female body during the 1800's. This research led me to images from period paintings, fashion magazines and the "new" medium of photography, which from its conception recorded the female body in portraits, medical records, and erotica. The corset had been used almost continually in various forms and to various degrees of severity since the 1100's. The female body held great mystery during these times in spite of scientific advances- much was written about its inherent weakness and need of support. Medical treatments of internal diseases were more often than not quite horrific. It was also during this time that scientific evidence led some doctors to declare the corset to be an instrument of physical torture for the female body. Many women were struggling to achieve status in a world largely controlled by men. During the 1800's there is documented both a resistance against the corset and its constriction of the body and an intense movement towards greater restriction of the body with more extreme manifestations of the corset and "tight lacing" with a real competitive edge to it. These drawings area based on imagery and text referring to the female form during the 1800's and explore the dynamics of freedom and restriction which continue to challenge women today.