Sword and Sheath
This work's title is a pun on the Latin origin of the word "vagina" as "sword sheath." The composition explores the concept that a female's anatomy can be thought of strictly in relation to her male counterpart. Throughout history, the female is conceived of as a blank screen—open and ready to be ascribed meaning by her male-dominated surroundings.
In this image, the disembodied female crotch is highlighted by a too-small pair of Gucci jeans. Although the figure may be physically and theoretically suffocated by the trappings of bourgeois femininity, she also carries her own "sword" – in this case, a switchblade. The woman in the picture is her own full package, who is fully capable of authoring her own meaning. The Versace Medusa keychain that adorns her jeans reinforces the concept of capitalist accessorizing that undergirds the work. It also links the female figure to the ruthless, too-powerful-for-her-own-good Greek mythological figure.
As a childhood defense mechanism, Rosenwald adopted humor to deal with her anxieties over consumer culture and female beauty expectations. Her compositions, meticulously rendered in colored pencil, are defined by their use of comedy to depict feminist issues and the artist's own anxieties. Her darkly humorous yet extremely poignant work speaks to the complexities and volatility of the female experience.
Samantha Rosenwald uses colored pencils to create meticulous and darkly humorous paintings. Her poignant images touch on topics of female identity, art history and consumerism. Rosenwald’s practice draws from her childhood anxieties over mass media beauty expectations to explore the complexities and volatility of the female experience.