Paintings by Ashley Alden
Art Major, class of 2015
Summer Scholars recipient
Summer Scholar Ashley Alden (’15) tackles the ever-present issue of body image and beauty standards in society through her series Vanity: A Study of Today’s Definition of Beauty Through Paint. Alden created images with the purpose of pushing viewers to explore the consequences of modern society’s emphasis on physical appearance. The series brings together Alden’s touch of irony to what would normally be considered traditional symbols or imagery of beauty and femininity. She breaks down what is recognized as beautiful by combining unexpected imagery with iconic faces normally associated with the ideal. This exhibit offers a glimpse into American beauty standards while also digging into the weight of societal standards on people, especially women.
In these acrylic paintings Alden experiments with different painting techniques. She also explores different styles. The stylistic differences of each painting individualize the range of consequences women face with the pressure to be the physical ideal. Alden’s ultimate goal in the series is to express humor and irony while prompting viewers to reflect on their past experiences with body image and appearance.
~ Madeline Kim, ‘15
Gallery Exhibition Research Assistant
The summer scholar program provides support for currently enrolled SJU undergraduates to engage in faculty-mentored research, creative writing, the fine and the performing arts, and other scholarly endeavors during the summer months. The eleven-week program runs from May until August and provides students with a stipend, on-campus housing, and opportunities to participate in social and educational programs. This competitive program enabled Ashley to complete this body of work. For more information on the summer scholars program, click here.