My work engages the themes of home and belonging through mixed-media paintings rooted in processes typically assigned feminine. I purposefully include fabric arts in my work to challenge the hierarchies of the various forms of artistic making. These mixed-media paintings enable both a glimpse into the inner sanctity of my home and an opportunity for the viewer to imagine what is happening in the space devoid of figures. Through a focus on interior spaces (of self, space, and identity) shaped by exterior forces, I explore the gendered expectations of private and public spheres.
This series works to blur how Western “women’s” spaces have been historically and contemporarily coded as private and how the spaces of paid labor have been coded male/public. Through painting interior scenes of my domestic life with my wife, I contend with how space is shaped for/by those who occupy them. I am deeply invested in understanding my relationship to place. Here it manifests in the context of the home in which I live in rural Minnesota. While the subjects of these square canvases are painted on site, they are also curated and edited versions of the actual (real) interior scene. Cleared of the messy reality of a space lived-in, the series also encourages a reflection on our relationship to things and the images we craft based on our material possessions. In this way, this series encourages investigation of how our home space reflects the relationships we maintain with ourselves and each other.
In the landscape of 21st century relationships we each are consumed with or by our various levels of participation with social media. By creating square canvases framed as though they might be on an Instagram feed, I call attention to the tension between our authentic relationships to our home spaces and the glossy, curated images that might make up our social timelines. As Instagram further facilitates what feminist media scholars have pointed to as the expertise of women being confined to “The Four F’s: Food, Fashion, Family, and Furnishings” I paint narrative interior scenes to encourage us to think about if it is possible to embrace these categories connected to femininity with pride. Can we subvert how furnished interior spaces, materiality and the spaces of the home have historically been understood as inferior because of their feminine associations? Can feminine domesticity be complicated beyond the typical associations made by the broader culture? Is the sharing of queer home spaces a political act in the context of a Western art history that has marginalized genre paintings as less important?
I carry the historical weight of painting to map new trajectories for the interior genre blending past with present to shape new understandings between humans and spaces.
BA, Women’s Studies University of Kansas, 2000
PhD, Feminist Studies, University of Minnesota, 2010
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