Dada, Punk, and Feminism. My MFA.

Sexism and Misogyny

I graduated with an MFA in Studio Arts from Maine College of Art in May of 2016. I threw myself into the research of sexism and misogyny in contemporary culture. Throughout the years, the invisible beast of sexism afflicted me in a variety of ways. I tried to confront it, avoid it, condone it, subvert it, destroy it; but, there it remained.

Why does “feminism” prickle?

When I really began to unpack sexism, I discovered the root of it was in the cultural devaluation of women.  Feminism is the quest to educate and facilitate culture to erase these demarcations of valuation. So why does the word “feminism” prickle? Why is its mission political? Why is it even debatable? With these questions firing my creative impulses, I began to critique sexism through humor and empathy within the disciplines of the sewing arts and soft sculpture.

Cultural Nonconformity

Inspired by the pioneering anarchists of Dada, Punk, and Feminism, I approached my investigation with likewise rebellion toward authority and cultural conformity— specifically as it related to the value system applied to women. Exploring and juxtaposing the clichéd realms between domesticity and adornment, I fabricated sculptures that I believed might be impervious to the gender binary.

Pop Culture

Choosing representational subject matter, I foregrounded its content with vibrant color, scale, substitution, and displacement. I wanted my punk-colored sculptures to demand attention with their amplified scale and haptic qualities, persuading the viewer to consider deeper meanings. Hoping to influence social change, my sculptures were designed to invite, seduce, and empathize with popular culture.

I use humor because it’s inclusive—not divisive. I prefer the sewing arts because it has been, and still is, rooted in domesticity and devaluation. I embrace the challenge to change that. I favor soft sculpture because its inherent ingredients result in a recipe that mixes and nullifies gendered attribution.