STUDIO: The Diva Series

Digital Work

The word Diva conjures up images of celebrated women dripping with style, class and attitude. However, one thing we must be clear on - Divas are not just elegant prima donnas or pampered and kept women. To achieve Diva status requires much more. A Diva is a talented woman with extraordinary determination combined with self - assurance and a touch of mystery. Being a Diva is about endurance. These are the few legendary women we refer to when our life lacks luster, someone we try to emulate when self-doubt leaves us paralyzed, a near celestial being that inspires us to expect more, to be and do more. One might say that a Diva has succeeded in creating an aura so convincing and tangible that she surpasses mere mortals. She conjures mythical-like qualities and is entirely sure of who and what she is, "Diva is as Diva does." Mass media and advertising today bring us thousands of images daily of seductive, young svelte women who portray themselves as Divas. A great number of women who see these attempt to become those advertised Divas by buying all these ads set out to sell. A small number of which (who financially can) actively act on becoming Divas by means of plastic surgery. Luckily for those we’re in an age where they can accomplish those goals. Today a younger slimmer person can step out of a plastic surgeons office in a matter of hours right into a new life of unfounded new realities.

"Divas is new digitized work by visual artist Maria Dominguez where she makes light of this contagious phenomenon of maintaining youth and acquiring beauty through surgery. Through the magic of digital self-enhancement she explores those possibilities and takes it a step further into modern design. In Divas, without the trauma and cost of surgery, Dominguez manipulates her photographed body and creates for herself a new "idyllic" body. Her images of self-portraitures elongate her otherwise shorter legs, tucks in her abdomen and transform her full size 12 figure into a desired "perfect" 6. Once Dominguez reaches her desired size she superimposes photos of her favorite garden flowers. These singular images are then further multiplied into a series of repeated patterns. Yet In others Divas are set onto imaginary and painterly like landscapes. Erotic flowers are repeated throughout the series and placed in delicate balances of space never compromising the purpose of the Divas. We know the flowers’ beauty is ephemeral, it’s short lived, and maybe this is what attracts us to them — their seductive and fragile natural beauty. Unlike the un-natural constructed "beauty" carved by means of liposuction, nips, tucks of clever plastic surgeons seeked out by some humans — which is also short-lived. In Divas we find consolation knowing that the endurance of a true Diva, such as Maria Dominguez - whether a size 6 or 12 - is eternal. Her playful slant on beauty and her lovely designs will live with us forever. Her ultimate goal for Divas is to eventually enlarge them to mural size and /or reduce them to a minuscule in efforts to print them on fabrics for furniture and fashions as well as accessories. Her attempt is to bring fun and a lighter twist to our own self-acceptance, our identification to images/objects of consumerism and therefore making her artwork accessibility to masses."

Raquel Ortiz- Rodriguez ’06