Studio Update: Fishnets, Lace and Family Photos

Fishnets, Lace and Family Photos is a project that I’ve been working on this past semester. Since its preview at the UMaine Graduate Symposium last week, I’ve gladly discovered that it’s a part of a larger body of work that comments on sexuality, gender, identity, and relationships.

Mine to be specific.

The idea of showing this work publicly has literally kept me up at night. This is a radically intimate body of work inspired by childhood events that are at time uncomfortable to even discuss let alone hang a wall and show to hundreds of people. How could I even begin to think about posting to the Internet images that represent my sexuality, and personal affairs?

Well, I did it. I don’t mean to brag, but it won second place at the Umaine Graduate Symposium. Not bad for sweating my tits off in panic.

Enough about titties, already.

Let’s talk about the work at hand. Fishnets, Lace and Family Photos and the artist statement is posted below. I’d love to hear your initial response, feedback and thoughts. Email me or post a comment.

Before you continue, two last comments. First. Take note. This work didn’t happen over night. This is NOT the final draft. It took me weeks to figure out what this work was even about. (Special thanks goes out to Sheila Pepe, xoxo) So if you are an emerging artist or just struggling with your process, fear not. The struggle is real. I know. First hand.

Second. Normally I would first publish this to my portfolio, which has been live for years. My blog on the other hand, I’ve had for only about six months and already I’ve decided to rebrand. The same actually goes for my portfolio.

Why am I telling you this?

Because I’m a developing artist that is willing to share the nitty gritty reality of what it takes to make money and survive in the capital A ‘Art world ‘ and I want you to too.

KEEP GOING. 

And for those of you already making it (teachers, comrades, colleagues, lovers, enemies and friends…) I have nothing to hide.

 


Fishnets, Lace and Family Photos, 2016 • Scanographs, found photos, digital photographs

American culture is hyper-sexualized. Nearly every commercial exchange is marketed in a way that instructs audiences to want sex, have sex, or be sex. Additionally, and disturbingly so, has increased the sexualization of children. It is now so frequent that it has become normal, signaling that many are desensitized to their own children being subjects and targets of sexual objectification.

Silk and Lace copy

Silk and Lace, 2016 • red panties, slip

 

In the same breath, we are hypocritically prudish. The topic of sex is avoided at dinner tables, in classrooms, and in public spaces resulting in a society that develops into sexual maturity in solitude, or seeks out alternatives such porn, and distorted popular culture to fuel its sex education. This foundation begins when children are told that sex is for adults. Copulation becomes known as “it” and from the beginning sex is something that is dirty. This Victorian approach clearly is inadequate as many children sadly first experience sex as a shock, in sufferance and/or too soon, or fear it far into adulthood. Then regardless of childhood we become adults. Nowhere do we ever become sexual beings.

We always were, regardless of gender and or age.

Yet somewhere along the line, we come to the current state of sexual identity that we now lay claim to as individuals and as a society.

Snowpants copy

Snow pants, 2016 • found photo, green tights

 

Bathtime copy

Bath time, 2016 • found photo, digital photo

 

Fishnets, Lace and Family Photos is a visual exploration and juxtaposition of the private yet present biographical (and biological) narration that takes place within all.  As I did this work, it became clear through the shocking visuals that the woman that I am now is due to the experiences that I had as a child, and my present sexual identity: my likes, dislikes, attractions, etc., are also the conclusive result of my childhood identity.

 

 

Family Vacation copy

Family Vacation , 2016 • found photo, strawberry condom

 

While the work is uncomfortable to view, especially in public, it begs me to ask, what responsibility, if any, do we have to ourselves, and our children to develop into our sexual identities without shame and in a way that is healthy? When does this transformation truly begin to take place and is it ever finished?

 

Summertime copy

Summertime, 2016 • found photo, lace garter

 

These Are My Petals copy

These Are My Petals, 2016  • found photo, bralette

 

 

 

 

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One thought on “Studio Update: Fishnets, Lace and Family Photos

  1. Todd says:

    Seeing the separate pieces of this around your studio, I was able to understand what you were going for but there was something missing. A gap. I was struggling to provide context, both personal and societal to discover something about YOU. After spending some time exploring your artist’s statement seeing the work displayed on the page, it became clear that I was looking for the wrong elements the whole time. The honesty and openness that guided your image selection and pairing almost demanded that the viewer also provide the same honesty and openness in understanding them. As it turns out, my own past became the context and my very small sphere of awareness was the societal lens assigning values. In sharing your past and experiences, you somehow turned the table and made the work unexpectedly about ME.

    Sexual objectification, be it intentional or unintentional, unequivocally assigns a “value” to the subject being objectified. A person, with all their beautiful nuances and idiosyncrasies, become irrelevant and the product they have become fuels the desire. That desire resides in the viewer thereby making them a contributing editor in the subject’s objectification. As a man looking at a woman’s statement, it made me realize just how many times in the past I was the contributing editor in breathing life into gender objectification. Comments with friends, both made and heard, set the milieu for objectification’s social acceptance as well as binding and disregarding the “person-who-is-now-no-longer-a-person.”

    In the pairing photographs from childhood with images representing a current point on the journey of sexual identity, a dichotomy of emotions, judgments, and reflections began to swarm. Essentially displayed as a digital diptych, you gave me the beginning and the end; the child and the adult; the then and the now. The image on the left vs the image on the right was internally conflicting and forced me to have to examine why I felt the way I did. You highlighted the gap and possibly part of a larger problem, i.e. the still used Victorian approach to sex as we develop coupled with an innate drive to get our bearings for a journey we are ill prepared for. Does objectification arise from simply not having the understanding to deal with sex and sexuality with labelization the only comfort? Or could it be a violent response from spending so much time believing one thing and then having society forcing the complete opposite upon us leaving us in an agitated state of cognitive dissonance? I’m sure there could be a third, forth, and most likely more reasons but I only have my own limited scope to rely on. Through that scope, I see many people all in the same boat. All of us with similar problems of how bridge the gap between step one and step three, never really having been given the all important second step.

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