Oil on Canvas
48″ x 60″
Throughout the history of art women have been objectified and sexualized. Thinking back to the old masters I studied in art, the only women I saw were either naked, undressing, bathing, or dancing. As a female artist, this is a difficult fact to face. As the Guerrilla Girls stated, “Less than 4% of the artists in the Modern Art Sections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art are women, but 76% of the nudes are female.” This is a striking fact that sheds truth to our place as women in the art world. We are new here.
I have always loved the pin-up art by Gil Elvgren, but revisiting his work while paying attention to how women are treated in these works of art was infuriating. So, in the painting, “Blow,” I was determined to create a work of art that could stand as both an evocative and compelling piece of art as well as a “screw you” to the sexist patriarchy, and to the gender stereotypes that were normal only a few decades ago. I took a pose from a Gil Elvgren piece and put a drag queen in the woman’s place. Drag queens and cross-dressers are trailblazers in regards to gender stereotypes and break down boundaries and divides by simply being whoever they want to be.
Stylistically, this piece explores a plethora of techniques and representations—graffiti, cartoon style, pop art, realism, and patterned design. In the background of this piece, you can see words like “Bitch,” “Whore,” “Get on Your Knees,” and “Blow.” In the background, there is a couple having sex, symbolizing society’s opinion of women’s worth. In this painting, the use of rainbows signifies the LGBTQ community and their notions of personal identity, turning gender stereotypes on their head. The central figure in this piece wears a backwards cross to further emphasize how women are labeled as secondary people in religious sects and organizations. I wanted to provoke people to recognize the familiar imagery in this piece, and to question it. Unlike most of my more recent paintings, this figure was not a real person, but a creation of my own imagination.