I use the tools of body paint and photography to represent myself in a way that aligns with my own aesthetic and intellectual interests.
Zoomorphic #5 (© 2018 Shelby Meyerhoff)
In the series Zoomorphics, I transform my appearance using body paint and photograph myself as different creatures inspired by the natural world. Animals, plants, fungi, and more can be found in my work. I believe that connecting to nature is fundamental to the human experience, even as spending time outdoors is a diminishing part of modern urban and suburban life.
The role of gender is also central to this project. Women’s bodies have been treated in fine art and advertising as objects onto which different meanings and motives are projected, and in body painting as undifferentiated canvasses. By working as model, painter, and photographer, I challenge these uses of the female body, taking artistic control of how my body and self are presented. While there is intense social pressure on women to transform our appearances to meet traditional beauty standards, I am engaged in using the tools of body paint and photography to represent myself in a way that aligns with my own aesthetic and intellectual interests.
Three of Meyerhoff's photos (including Zoomorphic #1 and Zoomorphic #2) are part of “Perceptions of Selfie” at Mosesian Center for the Arts in Watertown, Massachusetts, January 24-March 29, 2019.
From left: Zoomorphic #1, Zoomorphic #4, and Zoomorphic #2 (© 2018 Shelby Meyerhoff)
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Shelby Meyerhoff attends First Parish UU of Arlington, Massachusetts.