My work addresses psychological and physical transformations, the resultant distortions of the coercive pressures while growing up as a girl, and the effects of being “othered.” Tropes of Western white girlhood and womanhood are explored, deconstructed, and parodied to reveal their fallacies. I am problematizing normative femininity, body policing, and the acculturation into desiring and being desirable. My practice is anchored in narrative and employs pictorial allegory to communicate realities such as birth, death, aging, sexuality, the performance of the body, grief, trauma, fear, joy, and jouissance. I do so through petit récits rather than grand narratives, in order to acknowledge the diversity and multiplicity of human experience, trusting that the personal is a means to making my work available to various identifications. With a feminist perspective informed by contemporary theories of identity, embodiment and subjectivity, I am incorporating the personal and the political; the emotional and the intellectual; the individual and the collective; through first-person narratives of the particular.
I introduce the female body in my work with frank representations of figures and postures that speak to the performance of embodiment, of gender, and of femininity (a situation in a specific socio-historical moment; it is a position women are encouraged, through discourses and categorization, to inhabit and use). In my figures there is a paradoxical coupling of apprehension and ambivalence with adroitness and empowerment, which is unsettling as the works provoke and question, rather than offer conclusions. The figures appear composed for viewing, sometimes self-consciously, however keenly aware that they are posing and performing. Frequently their bodies are strange and unruly, perhaps to compensate for the tasks they must complete. In this way the psychological becomes manifest in the representation of something physical: the body can produce foreign objects; parts become grossly enlarged or disconnected; hybridization or multiplicity are possible.
I am interested in the accoutrements of the liminal spaces and times in the life of a woman; the transitions and rites of passage and the markers or signifiers of a new ontological or social status. Examples are tiaras, pearls, rituals related to bodies, changing physicality, and ceremonial clothes or uniforms. My work is blasphemous: I take symbols of proper, normative femininity and make them transgressive within contexts in which the female protagonists resist and reinvent their meanings. I am connecting my youth with contemporary girlhood and making narrative associations with a sympathetic Sister Gaze. Frequently in my work groups of girls and women are working together toward a shared enterprise, the ultimate goal is not explicitly clear but there are indications that their purpose is righteous even if their means at times appear pernicious. The girls and women I represent have gone rogue, selecting their own agendas and goals, but use the skills and knowledge they have accrued in their education as girls. I exploit Christian religious symbols and make sacrilegious conflations between miracles and magic in an attempt to make sense of the input from various bodies of authority, including the Christian church and Western culture at large, alongside specifically female embodiment and experience. It is important for me that the work conveys autonomy in its figures, but that this self-determination is precarious.