I earned my MFA in Studio Arts at Maine College of Art in 2016. My thesis body of work was a culmination of extensive research in art theory and sociology as they relate to the conditioned acceptance of gendered value. I wondered how an art object might deconstruct the notion of femininity and subvert assumptions around gender.
As a young girl, I struggled to understand who I was and what I was worth. This divergence of identity, I later came to understand, was shaped by a cultural agreement around female value. Eager to address sociopolitical concerns of women, I read a bevy of books and essays about the history of feminism. By investigating the notion of femininity, I aimed to expose the embedded sexism within mass culture.
Gloria Steinem has said, “I think the only real division into two is between people who divide everything into two, and those who don’t.” With my thesis work, I discovered that soft sculpture has the potential to denounce the damaging binaries between men and women. Exploring and juxtaposing the clichéd realms between domesticity and adornment, I fabricated sculptures that I believed to be impervious to the gender binary.
I sketched, designed, cut, pinned, stitched, and stuffed sculptures that represented common objects. I used color, scale, substitution, and displacement to unhinge conditioned thinking patterns. My sculptures demanded attention with their amplified scale, punk-colors, and haptic affect—persuading the viewer to question preconceptions and consider deeper meanings.
I used humor because it’s inclusive, not divisive. I chose the medium of sewing because I wished to challenge its continued devaluation rooted within the history of domesticity. I opted for soft sculpture because it’s a recipe in which the ingredients combine and neutralize gendered attribution.