FINAL GIRL| Fall 2017

Juror: Noritaka Minami, October 2017 Artist Resident

"The Final Girl is boyish, in a word. Just as the killer is not fully masculine, she is not fully feminine-not, in any case, feminine in the way of her friends. Her smartness, gravity, competence in mechanical and other practical matters, and sexual reluctance set her apart from the other girls and ally her, ironically, with the very boys she fears or rejects, not to speak of the killer himself...She alone looks death in the face, but she alone finds the strength either to stay the killer long enough to be rescued (ending A) or to kill him herself (ending B)."
- Carol Clover, Men, Women, and Chainsaws

Women do not have a history of being treated well in media, and the horror genre has its own special relationship with this. Women who engage in "bad" or "sinful" behavior, which could also be coded as male behavior, are almost certainly sentenced to death. The Final Girl trope came out of this treatment of women--while she is the one that survives, her femininity is often the cost. In this spooky, Halloween-themed Open Call, weexplore what the idea of the Final Girl means; is she someone who survives in spite of her femininity, or because of it?


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Alexis O'Connor https://alexisoconnor.net/

Perhaps, the Final Girl is not fully masculine or boyish in any sense. They aren’t any of those things. They exist outside of all of that. Their existence is derived on being the killer, as well as not being the killer at all. A separation from body exists to show the distance between the two. This image directly addresses surface level assumptions, both within the piece and within this trope itself.

Alexis O’Connor is a Chicago-based artist. Her work often explores themes of home, various explorations of the human body, and finding the role of the photographer in an image. She received her B.A. in Photography from Loyola University Chicago. She is currently working as a product photographer for Gold Leaf Design Group.My work mainly consists of isolating moments in time and dissecting them later. Red Shower was inspired by a red light that was installed in the bathroom of my apartment by previous tenants. The choice to photograph my partner bathing under the warm red glow felt terrifying and exciting. The direction of my gaze compared to theirs, places me as an observer to a very intimate moment.

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Chehalis Hegnar https://www.chehalishegner.com/

Her early years were strongly influenced by her mother’s political involvement in the women’s movement and my father’s interests in Playboy culture. This dichotomy continues to inspire work that encourages dialog about problematized social and interpersonal relationships. Photography for me is a moment-by-moment collaboration with life. Through my visual ‘voice,’ I archive the evidence of our collective human story as I see it. 

In 2010 Hegner received the Gjion Mili Photography Prize (Kosovo.) Solo and group exhibitions include Photographic Resource Center (Boston), Art Institute of Boston, Maryland Art Place (Baltimore), St. Gauden’s National Historic Site (NH), The Cultural Center (Varigotti, Italy), Interlochen Arts Academy (MI), MIT Museum (MA) and the National Gallery of Art (Kosovo). In 2005 Chehalis received her MFA in Photography at Lesley University College of Art and Design (Cambridge, MA). Hegner served as photography faculty at the University of Massachusetts until 2015.

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Kat Liu | http://www.kat-liu.com/

Shapewear is a fascinating garment that both creates a smooth silhouette and constricts the body to the point of exhaustion. Though these garments have become a normalized routine for women to wear, I’m interested in pushing these routines to the extreme in order to expose their inherently violent and bizarre nature. Through the medium of photography, I explore the celebration of the body and the attempt of adhering to societal standards of beauty. At the same time, I visualize the use of shapewear as a tool of empowerment for those who wear these garments.

Kat Liu is pursuing an MFA degree in photography at Columbia College Chicago. She received her B.S. as an art major and photography minor from the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse in 2013. In 2015, she attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in an intensive one year program to develop her photographic work. Her artistic process is fueled by topics surrounding self-identity and feminism as an Asian American woman. Her work has been published online and in print through the art collective, Sad Asian Girls Club. More recently, her work was exhibited at the Harold Washington Library Center as part of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.