Sara Salass (B. 1994, Arizona) is a Chicago and DC-based Iranian-American artist. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Fine Arts, and Art History from The George Washington University (2016) and is currently pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Sara’s artworks explore the psychological and emotional contours of hookup culture, social media, and the objectification of women. She is very interested in the ways that sexual politics have changed in the last 10 or so years. In particular, her personal experience and research has drawn attention to the ways in which social media profoundly impacts women’s interactions with their own bodies. Sara’s work tries to intensify and distort these patterns in order to call attention to the darker undercurrents of online sex culture.
I try to exploit tensions in order to create a dialectical interplay between sex-positive thinking and the more tumultuous experience of self-criticism and self-doubt around one’s own body. I feel that these polar opposites are both equally strong forces in online hookup culture. I don’t aim to resolve the tension between these competing forces. Instead, I want to encourage viewers to occupy a space of discomfort as they explore how these forces run up against one another in a physically charged way. My main interests on the research front revolve around the psychological effects of social media and hookup culture on adolescent and young adult women, including how these cultures impact how we think about and relate to our own bodies. The male voice is central in my work as a marker of how patriarchy has a formative or almost suffocating influence on self-expression and self-image. I am inspired by two parallel threads of research: psychological studies on social media and women’s body image, and feminist critiques of the patriarchal aspects of dating apps and social media in general.