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The overarching goal is to paint women the way they are not allowed to appear in popular media, and even historically. Every move I make assumes the position of subversion against the male gaze, and a long tradition of women as inactive, passive objects. Instead of doing what I see in a lot of feminist art, reclaiming the passive stereotype with an attempt to subvert it, I am instead tapping my own narrative to make myself, my own body, as human as possible. I want to create a new archetype, an image of a woman intended for a feminine gaze- a gaze where a wave of power gets riled up from the wake of empathy and vulnerability.
I lean heavily on my undergraduate education in sculpture, using what I’ve learned about space to draw bodies as voluminously as possible. I want her to take up a confrontational amount of space. I want her to stand large and tall against an American cultural expectation to shrink ourselves as women. And atop her head lays a crown made from a possum skull, a self-ordained Possum King, the muzzle jeering out at the viewer. She plays the king of the night, the skulking creature of southern America, a terrifying screech for a howl, only ever what she is and nothing more or less. They scare me, possums. I’ve always been too intimidated to go near one. I want that kind of power. I’ll give it to myself.
While she expands into your space, you can’t help but notice the expressive, and gestural mark making. The surface of the skin breaks apart, a system of brushstrokes that build as they break. The skin undermines a Rubenesque fleshiness that is expected when women are depicted in paintings. I break the surface into brush strokes and organic shapes, unmistakably flesh but without the aim of an airbrushed, pristine skin. I meld this system with moments of realism, especially around the eyes, and layer the figure on top of a flat psychological landscape, pushing and pulling the eye back and forth from flatness to volume. Back and forth from what’s real and what’s psychological. As I carry on in this journey I keep asking myself where the landscape begins and ends. I do not have an answer, and don’t think I ever will.