Inhabiting a fat body poses a series of complexities. A fat body is a physical marker of difference that is immediately visible; it is different from what the dominant culture prescribes as ideal and sometimes judged as a condition by choice. Fat people are assumed to be lazy and stupid, lacking in willpower, failures in the quest for normative thinness; fat theorists Braziel and LeBesco elaborate on the ways fat is equated with otherness: “frequently the fat body is read as corporeal presencing of other, presumably more intrinsic, incorporeal qualities or characteristics – the signifying of latency and lack. Fat equals reckless excess, prodigality, indulgence, lack of restraint, violation of order and space, transgression of boundary”1. Subsequently, for the fat person a tumultuous relationship with ones’ body is common. In my work, I want the viewer to encounter the intricacy of inhabiting a fat feminine body; what author Samantha Murray outlines as the possibility “to reconceive the ‘fat’ body as a site of numerous discursive intersections, the effect of normative feminine beauty, health, gendered (hetero)sexual appeal, self-authorship, moral fortitude, fears of excess and addiction”2. My work explores a variety of emotions and concepts through the lens of fatness, giving voice to the complexity of fat identity.
Working in sculpture and installation to critically examine the complexity of fat identity, I consider topics including the expanding body, the body under restriction and surveillance, obsession in diet culture, the medical industry and the fat body, inherited food values, and societal confusion around food. Expansion, accumulation, restriction, and shrinkage are referenced through material explorations with bread dough, mortar, and silicone. Often the works show manipulation by the hands, implicating materiality with fat embodiment; concrete is dug with fingers, dough is kneaded and formed, mortar is manipulated like sausages.
1 Braziel, Jana and LeBesco, Kathleen. Bodies out of bounds. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001. Print. Pg. 3.
2 Murray, Samantha. The ‘Fat’ Female Body. Australia: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. Print. Pg. 14.
Schneider holds an MFA from the University of Saskatchewan (2018), and a BFA from the Alberta University of the Arts (formerly ACAD) (2009), and is based in Regina, Treaty 4 Lands, Saskatchewan.