The naked human figure elicits a range of reactions in viewers when placed in a visual context that tweaks conditioning. Responses to images that challenge a viewer’s conditioned reactions to inherent or implied sexuality can range from anger to arousal, guilt, or revulsion. Regardless of the response, the naked human form consistently remains a taboo topic.
My work explores the role of the female figure in American culture. My current focus is on how our culture experiences women and their inherent or implied sexuality during the ages before sexual prime. Innocence, foolishness of the innocent and male predation are some of the conditions I consider.
Culturally, nakedness has become almost exclusively sexualized and/or pornographic in America. My work questions these collective social conclusions by providing an opportunity for the viewer to consciously and unconsciously make up implied connections between discrete visual elements that are outside the current pop context. (Often, I am exploiting my own conditioned reactions to nakedness and established gender roles.) By pairing naked figures with thoughtfully chosen visual information, I gently tease at vague dialogues, double entendres, and of course conditioning.
My images challenge contemporary personal mores about the acceptability of nakedness of the human body when it does not fit into well established pornographic molds. In America, images of nakedness have become taboo if not intended to arouse sexual desire. How does our society create its taboos? Why, for example, would we accept extreme, graphic violence as entertainment but not accept non-sexual nakedness of children or mothers or grandmothers? Shame has collectively transferred to myriad topics which heretofore seemed innocent or at least natural. It strikes me as contradictory that candid nakedness should be so uncomfortable in America while pornography insinuates it’s sensibilities seamlessly into our consciousness of fashion, personal hygiene, and sexuality.
In addition to the seriousness of the social critique, there is a sense of adolescent naughtiness in getting away with something or acknowledging an unspoken taboo. Whether it is making a picture of a naked person (in today’s climate of prudishness) or looking at one, most of us secretly enjoy being at least a little bit bad.