Educating Alice explores the emotional conflict I experience in repeated attempts to purge the patriarchal and religious constructs that govern my life and have influenced the lives of women throughout history. Alice - my given name, the one I answered to in grade school, seeks to promote dialogue about the female body, female rights and our formal education concerning female reproductive systems.
In my studio, I've been painting door mats and naming them after pagan goddesses. The introduction of works on the floor, grounded and intentionally anti-monumental, exposes the habitual, complicit behavior of dominion over nature, women and girls. I often use the vulva as source material to reveal our culture’s faulty notions about women’s anatomy. The conception that the vulva is life giving, revered and unexploited plays out visually when related to the Virgin Mary in an internet image search of “St. Mary & vulva.” A taboo juxtaposition, yes, but I find the visual kinship humorous. I designed a stencil to illustrate this sensibility, one of the many layers pushing and pulling for attention in my current work.
I am interested in the changing narratives that affect gender equality, the visual and verbal language we use to illustrate these narratives. There is power in naming. Responses to the question, “what do you call your external female body parts?” reveal a range of attitudes. For example, using the word “vagina,” when “vulva” is what we really mean, erases the body part that brings women the most pleasure and focuses on the female body part that brings men the most pleasure. It’s very subtle... say it with flowers.