Free Essay About Woman Eating By Duane Hanson
Duane Hanson’s sculpture entitled Woman Eating was created in 1971 as a full relief sculpture in order for it to reflect reality. Interestingly, the magazine placed on the table appears to have been much newer than the date of this sculpture. This women almost looks real, and it would be shocking to viewers that in fact she is merely a sculpture rendering. Both the pose of the woman as well as the synthetic materials used to construct this work both contribute to the authenticity and the ambiguity over whether the woman is a sculpture or in fact a real person. Hanson was unequivocally influenced by the pop art movement that was dominant during the 1960s.
Hanson created this sculpture out of resin from live persons as well as from fiber glass, which he painted over and adorned it with clothing popular during the 1970s. The scale of the work—constructed in lifesize—suggest that Hanson sought to represent the quotidian lives and mundane actions of ordinary people for his subject matter. Indeed, this sculpture portrays a middle-aged woman who is somewhat overweight eating ice cream by herself at a restaurant table, presumably taking a break from shopping. She gazes down, looking at the ice cream she is consuming as well as at the magazine placed on the table. Originally, the reading on the table was the National Enquirer tabloid with the headline: “How Retailers Cheat You When You Buy on Credit.” This headline enhanced this sculpture’s meaning because it alluded to the issues of consumerism and class that Hanson underscores through this sculptural rendering, which is stressed through the missing button on the woman’s dress, the broken spectacles, the stained purse, and the fully stuffed grocery bag by the woman’s feet.
The realness and shock value of this sculpture, despite its portrayal of the mundane, amplifies the possibility that Hanson’s work could someday be considered a masterpiece. The clever use of material also enhances the meaning of the work as a whole. I like this work because of the ambiguity and authenticity. My artistic tastes reflect the modern sensibilities that finds social, cultural, and artistic currency in artwork that reflects reality rather than idyllic scenes and/or depictions of people’s bodies.
Hanson, Duane. Woman Eating. 141.