My artistic practice is in response to issues of performative gender such as the beauty burden, politeness conditioning, emotional labor, and gender based sexual violence. Within these themes, I am investigating the push & pull between desire/disgust and feelings of being unsafe in my body in both public and private spaces. I see a strong connection between American society’s collective repulsion of the vulvic and our social conditioning to detest the word M O I S T. I am exploiting the juxtaposition of oral and vaginal labia to ask: why are you unbothered by the public SLIT on my face but shame me for the private SLIT between my legs? My S L I T series ventures to ask these questions through bait and switch tactics and double entendres.
Thinking of the butterfly semiotically, I am exploring ways to subvert this clichéd symbol and its pre- existing gendered associations with the feminine and genitalia assigned female at birth (AFAB) by transgressing paradigms of body shame to create positive imagery that have associations with the natural and healing. Through depicting observed anatomical variants of AFAB genitalia, I am experimenting with visual ways to unlearn my own social conditioning and ask questions of myself and my audience in relation to these paradigms of shame. I am interested in diagnosing the fundamental cultural problems associated with the human project of beauty. I am not interested in defining what beauty is. Rather, I am invested in critically examining the necessity to perform beauty as a survival tactic, and how that burden falls disproportionately on people socialized to be women and girls. Through radical visibility, my goal is to heal from body shame and normalize labial anatomical variations to communicate the importance of biodiversity, or as my recent series implies, (La)bi[a]diversity.