Viewing Optional; 2021
This series was painted in response to mandatory ultrasound viewing laws, which exist in a handful to states and require abortion providers to show and/or describe the ultrasound image to the person having an abortion, even if they do not want to see it. There is no medical rationale for these laws; they exist solely to shame and discourage abortion seekers. While they a relatively ineffective at restricting access to abortion, they are emblematic of oppressive ideology behind them: that women and pregnant people cannot be trusted to make their own decisions. My goal with these paintings was to re-imagine the concept ultrasound viewing associated with abortion, such that they might not necessarily be shameful or negative, but open-ended and hopeful, a transformation of anger to freedom. The tension outside the frame suggests the fullness, complexity, and messiness of peoples' lives that exist so much further beyond the confines of a pregnancy alone. Painted in encaustic, oil paint, and cold wax medium, I was interested in surface, depth, and luminosity, as well as the physical process of building and shedding layers of color and wax to obscure and reveal light, anger, and hope.