Special Exhibitions Gallery, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Peter Miller Gallery, Chicago, IL
I play with and exploit American female cultural stereotypes in my work, such as the Midwestern cowgirl, and the pageant queen. One seems more natural or “authentic”, while the other artificial and manufactured. The tension that is created from overlaying these types of characters mimics an inner struggle for feminine identity. There is even ironic cross-pollination among the stereotypes, examples being the ‘spangled’ rodeo queen, or the parading child pageant contestant that invokes the sense she is the human equivalent of a show pony.
Accompanying my characters are elements of extravagant décor, disorienting lighting and color. I incorporate this type of enhanced space to parallel the spectacle of the enhanced body. This blended with parading horses ushers in a magical place that is almost storybook like. I believe adult feminine ideals are rooted very much in early exposure to fairytales and animated movies, and that these ideas are carried into adulthood.
In dissecting and critiquing the pursuit of a superficial beauty and equating it to making a spectacle of oneself atop a high horse, I cannot escape the draw of the fabricated appearance and I sympathize with its motives of personal pleasure and visual identity.