Painting & Drawing
Ren Collins (American, b. 1997) is a Mexican-American painter examining social structures. Her work explores social expectations of gender, the performance of masculinity and femininity, and gender stereotyping.
Collins’ paintings are large-scale, figurative works that confront fantasies of femininity, the consumption of the female body, and the underlying social expectations for young women to project an image of the ideal qualities of stereotypical femininity. Collins confronts the social ideal of womanhood by rejecting the expected minuscule softness and modesty of imagined femininity. Instead, her paintings offer a monumentalized image of the feminine body that takes up space, commands it, and unapologetically dominates it.
Collins will be graduating from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. In 2021 her work was shown in the Student Exhibition, Immortal Messages, at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Chattanooga. Currently her work is on display at the 2022 Will/Aspire Winter Exhibition at ArtsBuild in Chattanooga, as well as the 2022 BFA Thesis Exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Tennessee.
Studio images, 2022
From a young age, women are taught to project an image of themselves that subscribes to the ideal qualities of an established stereotypical version of femininity That our bodies should give when shoved, that we should be nurturing and diffus conflict, that we should be petite, and above all else we should be receptive and attractive to men. In my practice I describe these established stereotypes as a ‘social
script’- one that refers to implied rules about social ideals that classify, divide, an determine value or worth in human bodies. I am questioning stereotypes associate with gender, what does a weight room- or a husband and child expect of me as a woman?
My paintings examine how I have experienced womanhood as a powerlifter throug large-scale figurative paintings that play with fantasies of femininity, consuming an being consumed, and self-portraiture. My practice is informed by online weightliftin forums where sexually charged comments and the fetishizing of women bodybuilder and powerlifters is unavoidable. These forums where anonymous individuals feast on
and degrade the progress of women’s bodies, make me question how hard I will hav to fight to take up space in a male-dominated community.
My work confronts the social ideal of womanhood by rejecting the expected minuscule soft modesty of imagined femininity. Instead, I offer a monumentalized image of th feminine body: one who is assertive, who takes up space, commands it, an unapologetically dominates it. The women I paint contrast the petite motif of sociall acceptable femininity, and promote bodies that take over their spaces, mountainous
women who look strong and capable, protectors who tower over onlookers an defiantly gaze back at those who consume them.