Gaze 1; Gaze 2; Gaze 3

Shelley Hannigan


My three artworks Gaze 1, Gaze 2 and Gaze 3 depict the individual experience of looking but at the same time being aware of being looked at. This has been explored throughout art history – in particular through feminist critiques of art where the female muse in paintings was changed to a figure that confronted the viewer. Such renditions of the gaze tend to be expressed in art history as particular events as in the case of Hieronymus Bosch's painting The Conjurer. This painting depicts a group of individuals observing objects, whilst one individual in the background confronts the viewer. John Berger noted in Ways of Seeing how women in particular are aware of being looked at as they go about their day. In contrast to these event-focused, social and cultural explorations of the gaze in art history, Gaze 1, Gaze 2 and Gaze 3 portray how looking and being aware of being looked at, can occur for the individual in unison. I am interested in the psychological experience of the gaze – a form of paranoia perhaps - and how this constructs selves. 


feminism; painting; portraiture; gaze; identity



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