Self-portraiture can encompass many forms (Borzello 2016; Battista 2019), from embodied and participatory practices (Luciano & Chen 2015; Hogue 2016; Zivkovic 2022) to disembodied, abstract data (Johnstone & Imber 2020; Piper-Wright 2022). It keeps raising questions concerning the politics of representation and representationalism (Barad 2007).

For example, Susan Morris’ self-tracking self-portraits Medication and Mood Swings (2006) present the self-abstracted in a ‘double condition of standardization and opacity’ (Newman 2020: 54). They are non-representational portraits that use a standardised format and do not express narrative information or the likeness of the individual but project information about specific aspects of Morris’ life over a period of time.

Elsewhere, transgender artist Cassils uses their body in hybrid works that employ performance, sound, sculpture and photography. Their Becoming An Image (2012 onwards) offers a visceral experience in illuminated glimpses of the artist at work during which they beat a mountain of clay in darkness, exerting themself into being to a soundtrack of slaps and grunts.

Bobby Baker’s practice of self-portrayal employs drawing, performance, and installation. Her recent piece, Drawing on a (Grand) Mother’s Experience (2015-2021) wittily revisits a work made a generation ago that takes a feminist view of motherhood. Dressed like a cross between a laboratory technician and a nursery nurse, Baker’s performance draws upon her experiences Laying a sheet on the stage and applying to it the produce of sustenance (tins of tomatoes, cold roast beef, flour), she describes the messiness of motherhood in a performance that culminates by cloaking herself in the drawing to applause.

While self-portraiture in photography has been widely discussed, the last 20 years have left a void regarding reflection in other visual arts, moving images, text, performance, etc. We wish to add to the literature and push the boundaries of what a feminist self-portrayal could be.

Our Focus Issue of MAI will centre on contemporary self-portraiture using feminist, new materialist, queer, crip, critical race theory, and other theoretical approaches to present the diversity of ontological approaches within contemporary self-portraiture. Critically, we aim at pushing the boundaries of what constitutes a self-portrait. Considered art forms and media can include video, performance, painting, sculpture, new media, photography, audio, and text.

For more information please go to the direct link.