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The Pedestal Series

Women’s clothing is a touchstone for me. Are bikinis empowering or objectifying? Is a wedding dress the embodiment of a bride’s special day or a symbol of sexual purity and patriarchal oppression? By expending a disproportionate effort on their exterior appearance, are women shortchanging other attributes such as intelligence, compassion and humor or are they asserting themselves? Is attention, particularly the male gaze, wanted or unwanted? My “Pedestal” series of mixed media oil paintings challenges the viewer to consider these questions. 

 My construct is to depict women’s attire that carry symbolic societal meaning by ‘dressing up’ vases. Vases are ornamental objects meant to be displayed. They are decorative works of art viewed from multiple angles and are often modeled after female bodies. Each painting in the series portrays a vase stripped down to its elemental shape, a 2-dimensional figure that can be appreciated in one glance. 

 The canvases are a uniform  24”H x 18”W x 1.5”D with white painted edges and a muted color palette to eliminate distraction. The compositions’ focal point is a ‘clothed’ vase/body representing a stereotypical garment supported by a pedestal stand. The result is a cohesive series that I envision lined up on a wall echoing a portrait gallery.

I start by sketching articles of clothing onto vase silhouettes playing around with different shapes and textures. When I’m happy with the concept, I go forward with the canvas painting. First I create a paper stencil to outline the vase shape and pedestal onto the canvas. Next I adhere material over which I apply a thin layer of gesso. I paint the vase, pedestal and background using oil paints paying attention to the subtle tints that reinforce my concept. So for example “Pregnancy”’s background is tinted blue on one side and pink on the other. “Wedding“’s background suggests a veil. “Bikini” has the ‘body’ painted in shades of tan.  

 Having majored in costume design at school, I am hyper-aware of how the media and fashion industry sexualize female clothing. Women are judged on how much skin they show and how their figure conforms to media expectations. Many garments infantilize women by associating femininity with docility and dependence reinforcing the stereotype of women being vulnerable, weak and childlike. My “Pedestal” series of clothed vases is meant to communicates how women’s garments correlate with objectification and gender tropes. I hope that viewers not only make this connection but consider the ramifications for themselves and society.

Pedestal Series - Discussion Guide

Bikini

Are bikinis empowering or objectifying? Is attention, particularly the male gaze, wanted or unwanted? Have you ever worn a bikini? How did it make you feel?

Wedding

A white wedding dress came into fashion when Queen Victoria of England wore white to marry Prince Albert. Now it is considered a symbol of sexual purity and fertility and to some, a symbol of patriarchal oppression. Have you considered this when looking at a bride? If you were a bride, what did you wear?

Baby Doll

 A baby-doll dress by its very name infantilizes women. By associating femininity with docility and dependence it reinforces the stereotype of women being vulnerable, weak and childlike. How does the media portray women? Has this changed?

Maternity

How does pregnancy change the way a women is viewed in society and particularly in the workforce? What are your first-hand experiences?

Prom

Traditionally a prom dress symbolizes purity and innocence. Nowadays it is a way for young women to put themselves on display and perhaps lose their virginity. How have prom dresses evolved?

Tutu

Tutus help ballerinas to appear elegant and graceful and move freely. Having the ideal 'dancer's body type' however is a major cause of eating disorders in the dance world and has also been tied to racism. Is the practice of only hiring slim dancers acceptable?

Beauty Pageant

Are beauty pageants degrading or empowering? How do they reflect the ideals of feminine beauty? What purpose do they serve in society? When was the last time you watched a beauty pageant?

Cocktail Waitress

Short skirts and fishnet stockings are mandatory attire for restaurants and casinos catering to men. Should a job require women to be alluring?

Daisy Dukes

Short shorts (called Daisy Dukes after a sexy character who wore them in "The Dukes of Hazard” TV series) are so short that parts of the wearer's rear end may be exposed. Why is it in hot weather that young men wear baggy shorts while young women show much more skin?

Cheer

Cheerleading began as a way for girls to participate when school sports were only for boys. The assignment of standing on the sidelines, literally, while the men do the actual competition was a direct reflection of their inferior status at the time. Cheerleading has evolved into a physically demanding competitive sport that promotes teamwork however professional sports teams continue to feature scantily clad cheerleaders. How does the media portray cheerleaders?

Corset

For decades, the corset was a reigning symbol of patriarchal oppression—thought to be a ghastly and restrictive device that rendered women immobile, passive, and prone to fainting spells due to lack of oxygen. Why are women judged based on the circumference of their waists. In this day and age, who wears a corset?

Stilettos

Are high heeled shoes empowering or oppressive? Sexy or fetishizing? Why do women wear footwear that restrict their natural stride, are at best uncomfortable and at worse painful or even harmful to their bodies?

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This Website Supports Augmented Reality to Live Preview Art

This means you can use the camera on your phone or tablet and superimpose any piece of art onto a wall inside of your home or business.

To use this feature, Just look for the "Live Preview AR" button when viewing any piece of art on this website!

HOW DO COMMISSIONS WORK?

  • First, let's discuss your vision for the commission - subject, color palette, size and mood so the result meets your expectations and fits your personality and taste.
  • Commissions typically cost from $800 - $3,000 depending on size and complexity and I require a 50% deposit to begin work.
  • From conception to shipping takes approximately 8-16 weeks. Please give me adequate time to finish a piece ahead of any deadline you may have. I usually have a waiting list around the holidays. 
  • You will receive regular updates with images of the work in progress to course correct as needed. 
  • You can also review the finished artwork prior to final payment, packing and shipping.
  • My goal is 100% customer satisfaction.

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