Year

1996

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Faculty of Creative Arts

Abstract

If women do not possess the means of self-representation and a sense of personal aesthetic, they are constantly judged and assessed by male-centred aesthetic standards. Ultimately, they adapt themselves to a position/role which can be agreed upon by the regulation of patriarchal ideologies/myths. The practice of footbinding in ancient Chinese times is an example of this subjection. Relationships can be seen between that practice and the current desire for the ideal of western beauty offered through the processes of plastic surgery and body reconstruction. In today's society this is symptomatic of the lengths women will go to in order to please men.

This research examines the issue of women's position in the Taiwanese context. The work was presented through a series of five major exhibitions of paintings, which were based on this concept and argument. The first exhibition 'Chrysalis' in the Taiwan Museum of Art in 1992, symbolised the artist's perplexity and struggle as a w o m a n living in a male-dominated society. The second exhibition 'Ancient Golden Lilies' was held in the Long Gallery, University of Wollongong in 1993, as the custom of footbinding was under initial investigation. The following exhibition 'Contemporary Golden Lilies' in the Long Gallery, University of Wollongong in 1994, corresponded with the examination of the current beauty trends in Taiwan. The fourth exhibition 'Pre- Show' which was presented in K. J. Art Gallery in Taichung, Taiwan, demonstrated a major transformation as the artist gained insight into the recognition of woman's position both in her life and through her work. The final exhibition 'Antithesis and Intertext—The Issue of Women's Position', was shown both in the Taipei Fine Art Museum in October 1995, and in the Project Artspace in Wollongong in March 1996. N e w dimensions of style, creative concept and language in this work demonstrated how the artist had gained control of her self-representation as a woman and as an artist.

The dissertation examines the position of women in Taiwan's art history, the position of women in ancient and contemporary society and provides annotations on the exhibited works.

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