Ideas and images of masculinity and femininity permeate many aspects of life in the 21st century, with popular products, media, fashion, and politics often attempting to define the lines between genders. As a consequence of this omnipresence of gender related biases in mainstream media and culture, attempts at discussing the impacts of gendered stereotypes, roles and experiences are frequently overshadowed or met with disregard due to a lack of existing inter-subjectivity between individuals directly aware of gender-related issues and individuals not directly aware of gender-related issues.
''Burned Out No. 2", Soft Pastel on Sanded Paper, 2021
Isabella Losskarn is a German-American visual artist currently based in Asheville, North Carolina. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drawing, as well as a Bachelor of Art History in December 2021 from the University of North Carolina at Asheville.
Born in 1999, in Charlotte, North Carolina, Losskarn grew up in a way that was synchronous with technological and societal change. Coming of age in the early 2000’s, she has experienced firsthand how the portrayal of gender stereotypes in mass media and popular culture can influence one’s own perception of gender. Confused by a lack of honest dialogue and unequal representations of gender in the media, at home, and at school, as a teenager Losskarn became motivated to use art as a way to communicate an understanding of the impacts of gendered experiences to broad audiences.
Now, navigating these gender stereotypes as an adult, Losskarn’s pastel drawings make use of striking, absurd visual metaphors to communicate with her audience on gender-related topics. Using soft pastels, pastel pencils, and blending tools, Losskarn’s work encompasses a wide variety of strangely manipulated pop-culture subject matter, rendered with detail and color which pushes the boundaries of hyperrealism. This manipulation of pop-culture objects appears consistently in Losskarn’s work, purposeful and jarring; she mimics the ways in which popular culture distorts perceptions of gender.
Working exclusively from artist-captured reference photographs, she collects and spends time with each of the objects seen in her drawings before they are placed in a composition and photographed. Rooted heavily in the regular study of gender-based research, the artist’s studio practice pulls from personal and anonymous gendered experiences in an effort to address a specific absurdity— the circumstances and consequences of the overwhelming presence of gendered stereotypes, ideas and imagery in our daily life.
“My artwork confronts the idea of gender and all of the absurdities associated with it— how gender constantly impacts our daily lives, the existence and use of gender stereotypes in media and popular culture, and how different people perceive and live gender in different ways.” -Isabella Losskarn