Joan Semmel

Mannequins

1996—2001

Blow Dry, 1990

Oil On Canvas

68h x 78w in (172.72h x 198.12w cm)

Overlays Series "Twins", 1973/1992

Oil on canvas

68h x 58w in (172.72h x 147.32w cm)

Multiples, 1998

Oil On Canvas

58h x 48w in (147.32h x 121.92w cm)

Odalesque, 1998

Oil On Canvas

54h x 66w in (137.16h x 167.64w cm)

A New Eve, 1993

Oil On Canvas

68h x 68w in (172.72h x 172.72w cm)

Bottoms Up, 1992

Oil On Canvas

68h x 78w in (172.72h x 198.12w cm)

Cage of Mirrors, 1991

Oil On Canvas

68h x 72w in (172.72h x 182.88w cm)

Double Take, 1991

Oil On Canvas

68h x 60w in (172.72h x 152.40w cm)

Hands On, 1994

Oil On Canvas

70h x 70w in (177.80h x 177.80w cm)

Masque, 1991

Oil On Canvas

68h x 78w in (172.72h x 198.12w cm)

Shower Stalls, 1990

Oil On Canvas

66h x 72w in (167.64h x 182.88w cm)

Description

Joan Semmel was inspired to create her Mannequins paintings (1996—2001) after she saw old mannequins abandoned on the street. Adopting their idealized forms as symbols of women’s objectification and fetishization, she created compositions that featured isolated, cracked, and discarded models. Their derelict bodies invite viewers to construct nuanced narratives around gendered societal roles. As Semmel writes, “The haunting beautiful faces, broken parts and empty armholes were eloquent witnesses to the way women were valued for their youth and beauty and discarded in later years as powerless and no longer viable.”