“Sure beauty has the power to excite men. But so does a box of donuts.”
- Susan Jane Gilman
I approach my work by exploring primarily myself. Sometimes deeply, sometimes examining only the chaotic and random thoughts that pass through my head as I’m doing laundry. With this work I strive to evoke questions and awareness of gender, social and cultural issues through pieces that are conjecturing from my own past experiences. The subjects I approach are rooted in and inspired by my thoughts on feminism, gender roles, body image, weight issues, sexuality, obsessive shopping, compulsive indulging, issues of intimacy, feelings connected to my brief marriage and emotionally draining divorce as well as the sense of freedom it can bring to display all these thoughts in public.
Through each piece I ask a question. How can anyone justify eating a whole box of chocolates by reasoning that the body cannot possibly absorb 3,000 calories in one sitting so most of it will pass through? Why does it make me feel thinner, after trying out all the scales in the store, to buy the one that reports the lowest number? Why do I spend twenty minutes every morning primping, plucking, and painting, turning myself into a “woman” when I’m very unaware of the look of the anatomical part that really makes me a woman? Does any woman, ever, really, consider a thong comfortable? Why does it make me less desirable as a woman if my panties are bigger than grandma’s? Do I have a shoe-collecting fetish or can all the bonus miles I’m collecting justify the compulsive buying?
I don’t have any answers. But it is a truly cathartic experience creating pieces about issues normally protected by the patient/shrink privilege. By putting the thoughts about my own behavior out in the open I want the viewer to feel a certain ease and comfortableness with how these issues were dealt with. I want to do so without putting myself above such behavior or in any way passing judgment. I assume that my audience is essentially like myself, that it feels the same pleasures, encounters the same obstacles and hold the same aspirations. I want to reconstruct thoughts and experiences that viewers might have encountered in their own lives and create a sense of comfort in the fact that they are not alone in engaging in these somewhat peculiar thoughts and downright kooky behavior.