My oil paintings reflect the feminine spectacle. The over-the-top, sparkling works deliver a feminist message, celebrating the hilarity and ridiculousness of growing up female in America. Pageantry and fanfare often find themselves in my work.
Below is the beginning of my new series Spectacle, comprised of 20 paintings that will be complete at the end of 2019. In this new series, the paintings reflect miniature plasticine trinkets from girlhood, painted as shiny still lives and inflated to grand proportions. The images provoke a bizarre, almost suffocating encounter between viewer and the enlarged, gendered objects. These silly still lives are depicted in variations of luscious pinks and reds across the canvas. Working in oil lends a genuine quality to the images, giving way to the rich nature of the swirled frosting and brightly colored plastic objects. Taken individually the trifles are simply cute bunnies, stars, adorable pandas, scrumptious cupcakes, Hello Kitties and shiny bows. Yet clustered into a candied extravaganza, the image’s complexity deepens and the sugary mass of artificial happiness overwhelms.
This line of inquiry speaks to the pressure of maintaining the ideal woman’s voice as charming, precious, and small. Each painting is a loud parade of honeyed, traditional feminine qualities. Loved or loathed, these paintings live loudly with unabashed bold colors and visual compositions. The still life objects are pop, plastic items of the current times speaking to this particular moment in history, where we are straddling lines of women taking up more space in their communities, political offices and art spaces. The works conceptually pursue global feminism addressing relevance to today's "Me Too" in the US, "Sister I Do Believe You" in Spain or Argentina's "Ni una menos" movements happening now. Together this series aims to provide a place of reflection, asks you to question your rose-colored glasses, and ultimately works to dismantle the patriarchy (in the sweetest way possible).
Oil painting has a long history of the erasure of women artists with recognition and opportunities in the field excluding this group. These works are purposefully executed in oil as a form of activism, to reject and act in direct opposition to that historical oppression and implement a halting, bright female voice. There is an army of woman painters now, yet often these paintings find themselves in spaces where they are the only glaringly pink thing in the gallery and in this way the work addresses difference. The works speak about standing out in a loud, unapologetic way to shine a light and give pause for examination on the idea of being "sweet" and "cute," regurgitating volumes of pink adorableness to viewers.
I have turned over and over these small still life objects, examining the complex items we give young girls and what it reveals about how we equip them to address issues of equality as adults. Gender constructs are taught from birth and it is my observation that women are held to a stricter standard, that there is a lack of freedom and documented history for half the population. This series expresses a packed party of lucky charms, teddy bears and "happy" cookies. I'm compelled to spend many hours investigating these objects, look at them closely, through the eyes of an empowered adult. With a complicated/ joyful fascination, sense of overwhelm and a heightened curiosity, I present Spectacle.