Romantic comedies through a feminist lens

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In continuing with professor Bruce Taylor&rsquo;s suggestion of student artists on campus with provoking art, <em>Imprint </em>sat down with Alyana Versolatto. The last artist in this series focused on organizing the chaos of her work, but this artist focuses on art as a dialogue.&nbsp;</p>

Versolatto, a fourth-year student in arts and business co-op with fine arts as her major and a digital arts communication specialization, was recently seen in her class’s exhibition FLUX. When it came to choosing her program, Versolatto explained, “My friend went into the same program a year before me, so I got some exposure, and I liked that there was the co-op aspect. That was awesome to get some experience, and I really liked fine arts in high school. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do at that point so I just decided to do something I liked. The business component helped me along the way.”

Versolatto explained that she doesn’t see herself working as a practising artist in the future but hopes to work in an art-related field like marketing. She is currently working on photography as her medium. “I like photography, I did it a lot on co-op,” said Versolatto. “I like to do digital work in my art.” Having worked at a private school in Richmond Hill as a marketing and communication assistant and as the marketing assistant at Velocity, Versolatto got a lot of exposure to photography and the finer aspects of the medium. 

Her co-op allowed her to improve in her photography skills, but Versolatto commented that her inspiration comes from Cindy Sherman, a famous self-photographer. Her current self-portrait project is based on “looking at romantic comedies through a feminist lens,” explained Versolatto. “I wanted to portray the representation of women in films, and portray the misrepresentation. There are different kinds of women in mainstream romantic comedies. There’s usually the flighty one who doesn’t really know what she wants, and there’s always the working powerful one, but they usually tear her down in some way to make her more relatable, so they’ll make her a klutz or something like that. Or there’s just the dumb, pretty stereotype.

“I try to make that in the characters I portray with different makeup, hair, clothes, and poses,” commented Versolatto. For the cinematic aspects she wants to portray, paint can’t convey what photography can. This worked in her movement away from oil paintings to using a camera. Versolatto also uses text in many of her pieces. “I like how text can infer more of the message to the audience than the picture; even the font choices and the different styles of text really makes a difference in every piece I do.” 

In her latest project she incorporates some aspects of the script into the shot she was replicating. “From The Ugly Truth, the guy is basically sexually harassing her the whole time. He was telling her to be a saint and a sinner at the same time, to be a hypersexual tease tornado. 

“Some of the rules women were always supposed to follow was never criticize men, laugh at all of their jokes, and dress to appeal to them. I just wanted to contrast that with some of the images. I don’t think some people realize how sexist the messages and tones in the film were. It just sends such an awful message,”said Versolatto.

This is one of many of the artist’s projects — her final composition of the piece will be at the fourth-year thesis show in May.