Whether it is apparent or not, the unspoken gender associations we instinctively place upon things as basic as textures, values, shapes, etc. influence how we view and experience much of our daily lives. Armed with knowledge of these assumptions, my sculpture and installation work aims to draw attention to the complications surrounding what we understand as feminine through material transformation. By changing select qualities of a material, I create analogies for assumptions commonly made about women. My ultimate goal is not only material manipulation, but to question some of the fundamental elements we associate with gender itself.
Lace is fascinating specifically for its ability to convey feminine qualities, as well as its organic fluidity and formal balance of positive and negative space. The lace functions as an ideal conduit to express the unspoken gender associations represented in basic items or materials. Through this transformative process, my work poses questions such as: What happens when something soft and elegant is portrayed as hard and structural? or grotesque? Can it advance beyond an often negative feminine connotation? I am exploring these ideas under the reference of writers such as Judith Butler and artists like Miriam Schapiro and Tara Donovan.
This body of work is a more truthful representation of my personal identity, as well as something less aligned to a specific stereotype. My studio practice involves the manipulation of these materials and forms to provide a glimpse of a more truthful identity, free from the constraints of gender norms and expectations. I aim to push material transformation to an understanding where the overall qualities rise above their corresponding gender associations, yet simultaneously highlight the existence of such associations. It is a balance—one of truth, and one of what what society regards as truth. A perhaps strange, but refreshingly honest, balance.