Coos Art Museum
Big Girls and Bad Air
December 11, 2020 - January 30, 2021
Umpqua Valley Arts Association
May 15- June 30
Friday, May 17
5 pm - 7 pm
My work is about response, a response to an event, a moment in time or an observation. My largest scaled work, Big Girls consists of three larger-than-life charcoal drawings. Each piece portrays a monumental female figure. The contrast of marks and black charcoal on a field of white paper add a dramatic distinction between the body and the space that surrounds each woman. The indeterminacy of place suggests both sanctuary and confinement. Each figure presses up against the edges of the picture plane contemplating their conformity.
I am both the artist and the model in these drawings, which adds to the diaristic approach in each piece. Each panel features a foregrounded female figure. Her physical mass touches every side of the rectangle. These drawings are not a rebuke of thick thighs or large breasts; nor are they about sexualizing the body. Rather, this work investigates how women dwell in space. The women, with their doll-like hands, stable their mass, as they touch the Earth. The triptych is about confrontation, contemplation, and confinement.
The drawings reference various sources that include direct observation and photographs of my body. Two major influences are Michelangelo's Sibyls and the Madonna of the Doni Tondo. Both the Madonna and the sibyls are large, muscular women who occupy the space they dwell with confidence and knowledge of their self-worth. Another influence was Henrik Ibsen's play, The Doll's House. The play centers around the transformation of one woman from a doll to a real woman. The women in Big Girls are in a state of transformation as well. They are in a place of waiting as they contemplate their worthiness and how they are allowed to dwell in their allocated spaces.
Big Girls was first exhibited in Portland, Oregon at the Museum of Contemporary Craft in August 2016. The thesis exhibition was the last show before becoming the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education. Big Girls has been invited to show at the Umpqua Valley Arts Association in Roseburg, Oregon in 2019.
Big Girls was supported by a grant by the Oregon Arts Commission. The Commission awarded a transportation grant so that Big Girls could be transported to UVAA. This work could not have been transported without the funds from the Oregon Arts Commission.
M. V. Moran earned her MFA in Visual Studies from Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon. Moran has a BFA in Painting from the University of Oregon. She is originally from the Umpqua Valley area and now lives in Eugene, Oregon.
M. V. Moran
The transportation of Big Girls was made possible by a generous grant from the Oregon Arts Commission. Thank you.