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Interpretation of Mueck's Pregnant Woman

Discuss about the Analysis of Ron Mueck for Pregnant Woman.

Every great piece of art is infused with a specific theme that contributes to its popularity. A piece of art can only become a great piece of art if it has got a universal appeal, and the theme is a key to attribute an artistic creation with an appealing theme. Moreover, it must be noted that a great piece of art should reflect on some specific social aspects and it must contribute to social progress in some way or other. It is in this respect that the artwork, “Pregnant Woman,” by Ron Mueck deserves special mention. Mueck has not only rendered his artwork with universality but has also depicted how certain feminine aspects (including motherhood, fertility and birth) along with aspects like creation and spirituality, can be incorporated thoroughly in order to transform a piece of art into a vehicle of conveying a social message.

Mueck’s creation is fibreglass replication of a pregnant woman, though larger in size than a normal woman usually is. It stands in the centre of one room of the art gallery and is made of acrylic, fibreglass and silicone (O’Hagan, 2006). Titled as “Pregnant Woman” the larger-than-life sculpture looms above the visitors and “her face drawn and troubled as if by the sheer weight of impending motherhood” (O’Hagan, 2006). Motherhood is a theme that has been thoroughly ingrained in the artwork of Mueck. About Mueck’s creation it can be said that, “Celebrating motherhood is a perennial function of art, but to come upon such a vivid likeness of a naked and heavily pregnant woman in an art gallery is a confronting experience. Our initial impulse is to avert our eyes, and yet the powerful presence of Ron Mueck’s Pregnant woman demands our attention” (National Gallery of Australia, n.d.). Such is the power of Mueck’s creation, and such are the acclamations that it has received since its inception and installation in an art gallery. The size of the fiberglass sculpture doubles the size of an average woman, and this makes the sculpture seems larger than life. It must be noted that may be Mueck intentionally created a larger-than-life sculpture in order to amplify and emphasize the larger-than-life roles that are played by a mother in the course of giving birth to a child and in the course of bringing up the child. Mueck has, as it seems, made the sculpture bigger than average viewers in order to monumentalize motherhood which surpasses all the petty confinements of all other human relationships. Moreover, being out of scale of reality, the Pregnant Woman has justified the intentions of its creator. It must be noted that Mueck has strived to project the importance of the role of women in the society both as a mother and a source of life and this has to do a lot with some specific sociological and psychological theories. It is also to be noted that by projecting a pregnant woman, who is larger than a real-life woman, Mueck has, as may be assumed, strived to make the viewers understand that difference between the actual role of women in the society and the role that is defined, confined, and projected by the patriarchal societies across the globe. Furthermore, it must be said that the sculpture has its own unique appeal to the viewers. This uniqueness has been conveyed in the article, “Ron Mueck: the making of Pregnant woman 2002,” in which Kennedy (2004) has conveyed that, “Pregnant woman makes a powerful impact. For men of my vintage, it has been typical to be in attendance at the birth of children. Not so for men of a previous generation. For women who have had children, lost children, had to cope with disability, or trials of pregnancy, so many thoughts can arise.”

Social Significance of Mueck's Artwork

One must take into account that apart from motherhood some other themes have also been incorporated immaculately by Mueck in his creation. In this respect it is noteworthy that, apart from referring to the significance of motherhood, Mueck, in his artwork, has referred specifically to universal themes like fertility, birth, the goddess, to the iconography of the Madonna and Child, and to the wondrous journey which is known as life (National Gallery of Australia, n.d.). Emphasis on such themes has turned the sculpture into a piece of art having social value. Mueck’s sculpture signifies that the role of a woman in a patriarchal society is not only to serve the purposes assigned to them by the male gender; rather, women are the creators, they are the goddesses giving birth to new life, and hence, their roles and importance surpass that of their male counterparts. Such a projection of the role of women can be equated to the principles conveyed by sociological theories like the theory of feminism. It is in this respect too, that Mueck’s work should be considered as an artwork having social significance and value.

Apart from having a social value, the artwork of Mueck also does have a value from research perspectives. The application of the fiberglass technology in the field of art has opened new windows of opportunities for many researchers who are interested in exploring the relation of technology with art and artworks. Fiberglass is a wonder in itself as it is uniquely acquired through the application of both art and science. It is noteworthy that, fiberglass is “a composite material, meaning that it’s comprised of two (or more) different materials mixed together. Typically, fiberglass consists of a matrix of glass fiber, saturated with a polymer resin” (“Fiberglass 101 – The Basics”, n.d.). The recent surge in the use of fiberglass in the sphere of art and architecture is due to the fact that that fiberglass has good tensile strength and it is also flexible to mold (“Fiberglass 101 – The Basics”, n.d.). And these two specific characteristics have gradually made it a popular means for creating artworks, primarily in the form of sculpture (as has been used by Mueck). Moreover, artists like Mueck are in favor of using fiberglass as the medium of creation because of its strength, and due to the fact that fiberglass is a relatively light compound which is resistant to moisture and to several other chemical changes (“Fiberglass 101 – The Basics”, n.d.). It has been observed that the popularity of Mueck’s work has been largely reliant on the technology that the artist has applied for creating it. One must note that, “Mueck’s process and techniques are a source of fascination, particularly in relation to his meticulous observation of the skin’s surface: its pores, the follicles of hair, the softness of a mole, the hardness of a nail and the shadows of veins just beneath the skin” (National Gallery of Australia, n.d.). All such details have been possible for Mueck to sculpt primarily owing to the technology he has used to give his artwork a unique (yet realistic) shape. This effort on the part of the artist may trigger interest in many other contemporary artists to explore the opportunities provided by fiberglass technology, and this can lead to the inception of myriads of research studies on the topic.

Research Value of Fiberglass Technology in Art

In conclusion, a great piece of art should reflect on some specific social aspects and it must contribute to social progress in some way or other. It is in this respect that the artwork, “Pregnant Woman,” by Ron Mueck deserves special mention. Mueck has not only rendered his artwork with universality but has also depicted how certain feminine aspects (including motherhood, fertility and birth) along with aspects like creation and spirituality, can be incorporated thoroughly in order to transform a piece of art into a vehicle of conveying a social message. The size of the fiberglass sculpture doubles the size of an average woman, and this makes the sculpture seems larger than life. It must be noted that may be Mueck intentionally created a larger-than-life sculpture in order to amplify and emphasize the larger-than-life roles that are played by a mother in the course of giving birth to a child and in the course of bringing up the child. One must take into account that apart from motherhood some other themes have also been incorporated immaculately by Mueck in his creation. In this respect it is noteworthy that, apart from referring to the significance of motherhood, Mueck, in his artwork, has referred specifically to some other universal themes including the theme of birth and fertility. Through his artwork, Mueck has projected that women are the creators, they are the goddesses giving birth to new life, and hence, their roles and importance surpass that of their male counterparts. Such a projection of the role of women can be equated to the principles conveyed by sociological theories like the theory of feminism. Finally, by using the technology of fiberglass to shape his artwork, Mueck has opened the door for researchers to show more interest in exploring the relationship between fiberglass technology and artwork. Mueck’s effort may trigger interest in many other contemporary artists to explore the opportunities provided by fiberglass technology, and this can lead to the inception of myriads of research studies on the topic.

References

Fiberglass 101 - The Basics. (n.d.) [online] Available at: https://centralfloridafieros.com/forum/index.php?topic=149.0;wap2 [Accessed 14 Dec. 2016].

Kennedy, B. (2004). Ron Mueck: the making of Pregnant woman 2002. [online] National Gallery of Australia. Available at: https://nga.gov.au/mueck/director.cfm [Accessed 14 Dec. 2016].

National Gallery of Australia. (n.d.). Ron Mueck. [online] Available at: https://artsearch.nga.gov.au/Detail.cfm?IRN=122875&PICTAUS=TRUE [Accessed 14 Dec. 2016].

O'Hagan, S. (2006). Ron Mueck: From Muppets to motherhood. [online] The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2006/aug/06/art2 [Accessed 14 Dec. 2016].

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