Virginia Broersma is a Los Angeles based artist. Recent exhibitions include solo shows at The Lodge and Autonomie in Los Angeles, and at Fermilab, the nation’s premier particle physics laboratory in Illinois. She has been included in group exhibitions at the Oceanside Museum of Art, the Riverside Art Museum and the Museum of Art and History in Southern California, as well as in Tokyo, Berlin, New York, and Chicago among other US and international cities. In 2016, Broersma was awarded the Emerging Curators Award from Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE) in Los Angeles. Broersma has been the recipient of several grants including funding from the California Institute of Contemporary Arts, the Puffin Foundation and was awarded a Community Arts Assistance Program grant from the City of Chicago, IL, which she received in both 2010 and 2011. Broersma received her BFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2004.
“Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at.” - John Berger
I’m not sure when exactly it started - probably as a kid, and then it got locked into its permanent spot in my psyche as a teenager. The awareness of what other people think about my appearance and its influence over my feelings about my body has been lurking most of my life.
Kids at school, men on the street, my parents’ ideals - my image of my own body has always been linked to what others think of me and their standards. Sorting this out in relationship to and through painting has been the bedrock of my work in the studio.
I work with the image of the human form to disrupt the power structures of the gaze and convention when it comes to the presentation of the body. How are we “supposed” to look according to others and who is doing the looking? Our image extends to our actions and behaviors having real effects on how we interact with the world. Deviation and invention in the way I paint the figure act as tools to remove the usual cues for beauty and normalcy and to have the body considered on other terms.
In my latest series of paintings, I mine my personal history for the moments that shaped my perception of what was and wasn’t appropriate about the body. Fleshy forms twist and contort themselves into impossible arrangements, suggesting the lengths we go to in order to satisfy the expectations of others.
In my work, I manipulate the visual representation of a person to regain agency in how I choose to present myself and the body.
Learn more about Broersma's work at www.virginiabroersma.com
Follow the artist on Instagram @virginiabroersma