Cropping to deny subjecthood

Alot of my work plays with the idea of the “gaze” and the power between the looker and the subject.

In my final year of gradschool, I decided to take classes with the Women and Gender Studies Department and studied how feminism could give me the verbal language to help shape my work. I studied a lot of phallocentrism which is the Freudian idea that a woman’s “real absence of a penis” signifies “nothingness”.

Man gains power over woman because of her lack of penis but also fears castration.


Women=Castration threat(according to Freud of course)

Different Sausage, Same Sentiment
Aimee Jones, “Different Sausage, Same Sentiment” oil on canvas 20×20 inches

And for whatever reason, this desire is threatened when a nude woman looks back at the viewer in art. Her reversed gaze takes away the pleasure of one looking at her as the viewer feels confronted.

It made me question, why were these men so confronted by the reclining female nude’s direct look? What about the pacified female nude made it terrifying when she directed the look back towards the viewer?

I thought about this idea and wanted to combine a “suggested” direct look using body parts. Here I used images from Vogue magazines and collaged it so that nature and domestic spaces collide-while covering a woman and cropping out her body parts. The boobs created a suggested look with the viewer who is looking at her. I thought this was interesting so I decided to role with this idea

Aimee Jones, “Summering”, Oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches
Rene Magritte, “The Rape”

In Rene Magritte’s “The Rape” the woman’s facial features are replaced by her sexualized body parts, to suggest how men perceive the woman. It’s a literal interpretation of the Western White heterosexual male’s desire while also becoming objectified and non-human. Women’s studies scholar Susan Gubar writes that “it certainly is the case that woman has become a visible construct of male desire, that her body is at the latter’s mercy, subjugated, positively offering itself up for rape, something suggested in the picture’s title. However, at the same time the woman would appear totally unsuitable as an ‘object of desire.’ Indeed, because her face and body have been fused the man’s sexual fantasy has nowhere to go, thus, so to speak, undermining itself.” Magritte’s “The Rape” also reminds us that looking itself can be a form of violation.

Similar to Magritte, I am personifying the cropped, unnatural breasts to confront the viewer so that the women are simultaneously sexualized and non-sexualized

By imitating the media’s process of cropping women’s body parts to eroticize and dehumanize them, thus denying them subjecthood, my work asks, who is really looking at whom?

Aimee Jones, “First Burn”, 52x 42 inches, Oil on Canvas, 2021

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