Artist Statement – Arianne Zager

I try to portray thought-provoking elements with my works’ composition. To acknowledge the blurred space between beautification rituals, societal conformities for women around the world and our true form as we naturally stand. I try to always give a nod to the unique and painful processes we, women, have and put ourselves through to be visually pleasing to everyone.

This comes out in broken and bound feet, stretched out necks, extended full eyelashes, unrealistically long legs, bright red lips, painted nails and beautiful hair-do’s. I accompany these ideas with “flawed beauty:” jelly roll tummies, saggy breasts, lumpy back sides and fly aways in the hair. I almost always give them faces of serenity and calmness to show that even when you break yourself for perfection you already achieved it just in your presence. You can still be happy even when you are not “perfect.” Others view you as beautiful not despite your flaws but because of them.

I have spent a lot of time traveling the world, from Africa to Asia to Australia, quietly observing how people and societies operate in general; always taking special note of the women. How one place’s absolute beauty is another’s true nightmare and vice versa. In all these disparate societies, women still have a ritual, of enticing themselves ing not only to their partners but to their community at large.

While traveling water was not always readily available. I would go fetch water to paint with from the rivers, lakes, oceans, puddles, melted snow etc. I started to notice two things in particular. One was how the different waters made the exact same paints and pigments react differently–due maybe to the PH in the waters. An almost untouched stream in the hills of northern Sierra Leone, Africa made bright almost neon hues in my work. On the other hand, a polluted city lake in New Deli, India made the exact same color lack luster and almost grey.

I also noticed how dipping my hands in the water with the jar or vessel I used to capture the water and then painting my watercolor works with the water I hand dipped from, made this deep, deep connection for me. That I am mostly water, that as a woman my water is sacred and by dipping my hands in natural water around the world made me feel close to the women on that land, those present and those before. Not that I can claim a thing, not that I am part of anyone’s history but my own, but a little bit closer to my voice fueled from the connections I feel.

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