Friday, January 28, 2011

"The Willendorf Project:" Art that speaks volumes -- literally

What's your first reaction when you see this picture?

Yep. That's what I thought.

Keep looking and you'll see an interesting artistic perspective on body image.

The artist is Brenda Oelbaum and the work is called "The Willendorf Project. It is currently on display through Feb. 18 at the River's Edge Gallery in Wyandotte, Mich.

The work literally speaks "volumes." Oelbaum has used thousands of donated diet books to comprise what is called "installation art."

According to, "Installation art is difficult to describe. In principal, it means taking a large interior (the exterior can be part of an installation, too) and loading it with disparate items that evoke complex and multiple associations and thoughts, longings, and moods. It's a huge three-dimensional painting, sculpture, poem, and prose work."

Indeed, Oelbaum's work delivers all these elements.

Her work is a critique of the diet industry as well as society's perception of beauty.

Obviously perceptions have changed since the days of the original "Venus of Willendorf" when a curvy body was revered and respected for its power of reproduction.

Oelbaum told “We need to be more accepting that people come in different shapes and sizes," she said. “It’s so easy to flip and doubt yourself when the world is telling you you’re wrong.”

She's right!

Read Melissa Ptak Moline's entire article on Wyandotte Patch

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