Eleanor Antin

Eleanor Antin, who works in photography, video, film, performance, and drawing, came to California in 1968 and was a professor of art at the UC San Diego for more than twenty-five years.  In her Representational Painting (1971) Antin is seen applying makeup to construct representation of herself with which to face the world.  Treating the camera like a dressing-table mirror, she transforms herself through the careful application of makeup, from her bare, natural state to, in her own words, “a kind of Vogue hippie.”  Created as both a video-performance and a series of still photographs, this is one of  Antin’s first works that addresses society’s pressure on women to adhere to the constantly changing definitions of beauty and fashion. The title derives from Antin’s desire to both comment on traditional painting and to address how women choose to represent themselves to the world. According to the artist: “Representational Painting was a feminist piece that ironically played with the idea of traditional art forms.” Antin uses a simple, everyday action not only to make a feminist statement, but also to questions the conventions of painting.