My art practice has always focused on the ideals of challenging stereotypical gender roles and conventions from a woman’s view-point. It is an essential element in my practice to highlight a woman’s own sexuality, reclaiming ‘phallic validation’ from the male gaze and to celebrate a woman’s natural, bodily impulse. Currently, my practice takes focus on the mind/body phenomena, challenging the philosophy of self-perception through Richard Shusterman’s Body Consciousness theories.
My research is a personal, explorative, performative process surrounding the perceptual function of the body, highlighting individual experiences in social, political and physical roles as a woman (Grosz, 1994), identifying and highlighting the potential of the female body. Investigating the mind and body, in situ with space and time, contemplating, through artistic practice, the female body as a perceptual site for investigation, I use my own body as a tool in drawing. Learning to ‘see’ with the body, I attempt to further understand the function and essence of the female form and further exploring my discovery through mark making. Through performances, I explore relationships between object and subject, from the inside – out, in relation to my body through somaesthetic disciplines.
For philosopher Merleau-Ponty, perception is a concept existing between the spheres of the mind and the body (Merleau-Ponty 1962). When focusing on the subjective, lived body, it is impossible to perceive through any other body than my own. Feminist theorist, Elizabeth Grosz, adds to this stating that she cannot take up a perspective of her own body because it is the vantage point from which she gains perspective of the exterior world(Grosz, 1994). Feminine impulse tells me that our pain, our anger, our perception on the world, is not ours and ours alone and that it delimits me in a shared cultural situation which, in turn, enables and empowers me (Butler, 1988). Although my practice is undeniably auto-biographical, I also explore the idea that, through understanding my own body via creative process, others, specifically women, may come to understand theirs also.
Within my practice, drawing is my most valued tool. It is the mechanism for communicating my understanding and exploration of the mind and body relationship. For both myself and my audience, there is a necessity for the processing of visual information, of evaluating, understanding and expressing a subject, of creating every line in the essence of what is truly to be seen. From this, one determines where and how to make the next move. I use my body as a dynamic tool to create drawings; embodying process and working in large scale, I use impulsive actions to create marks correlating to the ebb and flow of the nature of woman.
“It is by lending his body to the world that the artist changes the world. We think and we record through drawing into paintings”(Merleau-Ponty and EDIE, 1964).