Her Own Frameof Reference: A Feminist Reading of Mary Pratt's Painting

  • Wendy Schissel University of Saskatchewan


Art history has made the word "artist" synonymous with man; woman has been excluded from mastery of the privileged genre of the female nude, object of male speculation, desire, and consumption. Feminist criticism has provided an alternative set of signifieds for the nude image produced by a woman. In Mary Pratt's paintings of her husband Christopher's models, the feminist critic reads a complex meeting of the subjectivity of the artist and the model. In another part of her oeuvre, the still—lifes, more often associated with women artists and metonymic with the domestic spaces of female experience, the feminist critic reads erotic images which are,simultaneously, appealing and disturbing.
Original Research