Eve, Medusa, et al.; 2021
These works are an exploration of women’s anger. As an abortion rights activist, scholar, and professional, I am interested in the power and necessity of anger as a catalyst for justice and liberation, anger as an individual and collective agent of sustaining hope for social change, and consequently, the striking cruelty and dehumanization of discouraging, dismissing, and denying women’s anger, in particular. The images presented here are illustrative of the ongoing evolution of my attempts to define a visual language for expressing these complex qualities of anger. My roots in abortion access are often present in my work; sanguine shades of red, biomorphic forms, snakes, and ultrasound shapes are common, all in reference abortion, anger/hope, and reproductive freedom. In popular mythology, the snake is often interpreted as a symbol of fear and monstrosity (ie Eve, Medusa). That monstrosity is both subtly and overtly linked to women’s anger, implying that women’s anger is wrong, and should be avoided, conquered, annihilated—ultimately, not visible. In contrast, the snake in my work is a source of power, lying in wait. It demands to be looked at; women’s anger demands to be seen in my work. It is inextricable from women’s humanity, intimately intertwined with grotesque, biomorphic shapes, evocative of women’s reproductive organs and tissues. The position of seeming repose of the snakes, along with the intensity, compression, and control of the biomorphic shapes, and the contrast between the organic forms and geometric lines of the ultrasound shapes all serve to heighten the sense of tension and potential for confrontation in these works. Both pleasing and unsettling, beautiful and grotesque, many of the images are evocative of products of pregnancy–or their absence–and invite the viewer to examine any discomfort they experience more closely.