Nathan Smith '15

Author: Andrea Martinez Dominguez

Nathan Smith

Graduation year: 2015

Majors/Minors: Masters Fine Art (MFA), Gender Studies minor


Studying Gender at Notre Dame has proven to be a powerful experience for me. As a young male adult in the world growing up with my mother and sister and array of father figures, I have developed a sensitivity to gender identity and long to get us a bit closer to gender parity through my work. One thing in particular I have become increasingly aware of is how assumptions and stereotypes about gender form our understanding and expectations re: gendered attitudes and beliefs. People still find it easier and convenient to put people in to boxes and simplify the complexities of identity.

I am first a human, though one might characterize me as an artist if one could only choose one word to describe a person. As an artist my work has to do with gender construction, and specifically the true and false stereotypes and assumptions we make, live out, and pass down to our children regarding gender conditioning. I view the artworks I create as future vestiges from our contemporary culture. The seemingly heavy dense stones that the imagery is prepared on represent the illusion of gender, that gender is a social construction that only seems to be permanently set in stone. The appearances these timeworn stone artifacts have behave as an inquiry of just how far back the foundations of gender conditioning goes. Contemporary imagery pulled from pop culture, modern advertisements, diagrams, and my own personal experience further ridicule how stupefying gender assumptions have become. It is my hope that these creations work to subvert and ridicule gender construction and conditioning as well as confront and challenge our individual assumptions and stereotypes that we have about our perception of gender identity.