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Research interests

Women Artists

British Artists of the Early Twentieth Century

Representation of the Female Body

Women as Models and Makers of Art

Identity and Social Space

Social and Cultural Definitions of Femininity

 

Research interests

 

My thesis, Laura Knight: Beyond the Body, examines the work of Dame Laura Knight with a specific focus on her representations of the female figure between 1911 and 1930. Knight's engagement with this subject emerges as most acute in marginal areas, and this is examined from both physical and social perspectives. Her work is surveyed from a contemporary standpoint, and the thesis considers how the central themes of representation, gender, race and identity continue to hold relevance today in line with current debate. Her paintings and graphic works from this period challenge traditional, historical approaches to surveying the female form, and provide an alternative perspective from which to consider the female body which confronts art-historical ideologies. Her work actively promotes female presence in a positive light, opening debate on wider issues of female visibility.

Little has been written about Knight and existing material reflects a persistent temptation to affiliate her with the Newlyn School and English Impressionist movement. By and large, she appears to have been written out of art history and is today a figure who has faded into obscurity, falling into the category of the forgotten artist. This thesis constitutes the first major critique of Knight's work, and will provide a long-overdue opportunity to re-evaluate her contribution to early twentieth-century art.  The thesis will re-examine Knight’s work, removing her from the bracket of neglected women artists, and provide an enlightened appreciation of her oeuvre, in line with both contemporary art-historical and wider sociological debate.

 

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