Collage in a Commodified World

Kristin Anderson '16

Kristin Anderson ‘16
Major: Art

Research Topic

Digital technology has altered the aesthetic and delivery of advertising. Current advertising objectifies the female body, sexualizes flesh and food, and exaggerates images.  

Kristin’s studio practice uses painting and collage to see patterns of representation in women’s magazines. It reduces images to their most basic visual properties—form, line, and color. The examination often brings to light the absurdity of sensationalized mass media. Her presentation functions as an artist’s talk, with a focus on her art and the research that informs it.           

How Her Work Came Together

Kristin’s research and studio practice began with her enjoyment of the collage process. She’s also interested in how visual culture shapes how we perceive ourselves and the world around us.

“From there, it went through several major shifts of focus. I looked at digital media, the ‘collage’ of Facebook, video advertising of the ’90s, and contemporary print magazines,” she says. “It was also a process of making and being in the studio, which allowed the body of work to come together.”

Discovering Our “Bizarre” Visual Culture

The exhibit, Cut//Paste, grew from the process of collecting imagery from women's magazines.

“Advertising tries to sell us something, and humans have a short attention span. We get fragments of visual information that convey whole ideas,” she says. “Exploring how this works spawned a lot of bizarre questions: Why are smears of makeup used so much? Why are female models always standing with weird posture? What are all of these disembodied hands doing? Is that plate of food sensual? The main discovery I made was that our visual culture is bizarre, yet powerful, and requires a critical eye.”

A Blend of Interests and Disciplines

Kristin thinks of studio practice as research and a long-term exploration of specific ideas and processes. “This project encouraged me to bring a lot of my interests together: gender studies, critical theory, media studies, and literature,” she says. “It was a valuable opportunity to reach a deeper understanding of my artistic voice.”