Self-portraiture has long been a means for the male artist to assert an identity as masterful creator or tortured soul; women have overwhelmingly been presented as objects, and rarely as subjects of self-portraiture. In recent years, however, women artists have used their work to disrupt this tradition. With 43 illustrations of works by Louise Bourgeois, Frida Kahlo, Alice Neel, Cindy Sherman, and Jo Spence, among others, "The Art of Reflection" is the first sustained inquiry into the appropriation of self-portraiture by women. In suggestive critical meditations on paintings, photographic work, sculpture, performance art, and body art, Marsha Meskimmon shows how twentieth-century women artists have undermined male-centered definitions of how "the artist" depicts the self.Drawing upon feminist theory and philosophy from Simone de Beauvoir to Luce Irigaray, "The Art of Reflection" casts doubt on the idea of self-portrait as a mirror, in which the static self is rendered accurately and naturalistically. Meskimmon evokes a series of myths about what an artist is, how "he" should be represented, and how "his" work is to be read as autobiography. Through close readings of the imaginative self-representations of women artists - as male artist and god, as central player in the studio and in the Christian passion - she shatters these myths. In an absorbing assessment of the ways women artists have negotiated the complex group of roles ascribed to "woman," Meskimmon considers the partially nude painting by pregnant artist Paula Modersohn-Becker and performance artist Annie Sprinkle's confrontation of the thin line between celebration of female sexuality and objectification of the female body. As a nuanced appreciation of the interpretations of self-portraiture among women artists, "The Art of Reflection" will prove an invaluable resource on a subject that has received little attention from art criticism. Meskimmon's work also presents a bold challenge to critical tradition, compelling readers to rethink the meaning of the genre as a whole.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.