“Playgirls” explores the classical depiction of women in Playboy magazines particularly 1960’s and 70’s. Focusing on the Playmates as transgressive agents, rather then exploited models, I explore women's sexuality as a means to satisfaction and self-expression rather than as a vehicle of patriarchal oppression.
The “Playgirl's” confident stare engages the audience, seducing them to look, but not enter. The empty backgrounds deflect the male gaze and the viewer is forced to confront the figure directly. There is something furtive in this gaze, and posture, as if the viewer has been cuckold. Out of context the figures are removed from the masculine world, and brought into an ambiguous space, where they no longer use eroticism to seduce the viewer. Through the use of contour drawing, each woman appears like a doll, free of social context, unconscious of time and space.
My work is a manifestation of my desire to unveil secrets. In collecting the source material for the paintings, I relive the voyeurism of my childhood, and through this I am able to express a part of myself that was kept hidden. Having grown up in a repressed household, I recall obsessively gazing at these Playmates and being in awe of the female form. I was ashamed of the seemingly unnatural desire to examine these women’s bodies, because of the social stigma attached to women looking at women. Repressing my own desire to be free of social constraints, these women symbolize the power of possibility and courage to defy society.
My “Playgirls,” embody the subtle femininity and unconventional freedom associated with female autonomy, possessing the dynamism needed to direct their own destiny.
on the Moon / a site specific installation - thread
and pins on wall, 20 x 10 feet
The New Center for Contemporary Art, Louisville, KY