Vulnerable (scurs) | Declawed and Domesticated | Michael Vick | Is It a Sin to Touch a Dead Pig Skin | Mortis Vanitas
Spectres is a series of works created to visualize a feminist critque of how society treats people and animals as livestock, pets and resources which others may use for personal gain.
Bold colored jacard, velvet fabrics and dark baroque frames highlight the pale skulls of animals on which photographic imprints of human forms lay. This contrast of the decadence and richness associated with wealth and finery with the stark simple nouveau forms of animal skulls is a stunning statement in and of itself; the deathmasks of animals becoming objects of glamour to be hung and admired by a crowd of visual consumers.
Vulnerable (scurs) features a photograph of a nude woman curled amongst leaves, her arm covering herself as she stares directly out at the viewer.
The image is on a polled cow skull, polled, meaning that it is a cow whose horns have been removed through either selective breeding or physical means. Scurs are the bone fragments that are left from the polling process.
Both women and livestock are raised to have their natural defenses removed from them in order to accomodate an easier visual or literal consumption by society. Whether it is removing the horns from a cow, or raising girls not to speak up, cause scenes or act out when they are provoked, our culture sets standards for acceptance and approval based on how amicable an experience it is to go from introduction to the complete devouring of anything considered lesser than man.
As a woman, I've noticed this societal and cultural comparison between females and felines. Whether the stereotypical Halloween costume, or references to female anatomy, females are frequently told they should be desireable in the same way that a domesticated cat is.
Independent, but always looking to ultimately be provided for by others. Just like many declaw their cats without understanding the damage of removing the equivalent of the
Declawed and Domesticated (puss)
ends of human fingers, the aggressive ends of women have been removed because it suits the patriarchy better.
The symbolism of having a bell on a ribbon around the neck of the woman in the photo can likewise be compared to that of many cartoon cats - after all, bows are some of the only tools cartoons give us to tell male cats from female cats. Bows are considered not only feminine artifacts though, but symbols of ownership, especially when worn as collars. And bells not only inform of ownership, but of the control of providing an owner where his domesticated pet is.
The make up of the model in the photo is feline-inspired as well - a look that has persisted to implicate sexual appeal. There are many slang words for a woman's genitals which include feline references, and many English adjectives describe both women and cats in pop-culture and common conversations.
"Sleek body, graceful movements, and bright eyed-and adorable...even if a bit temperamental."
Did I just describe a domesticated house cat or a domesticated housewife?
Michael Vick is a social and political statement about the glamorization of dog fighting; an industry which is glorified; seen as "quick money;" entertainment; a display of power, but all of which comes at a brutal expense to the animals involved: ending in grievous injuries, and death.
At first glance, many wonder what the gray area on the dog skull is. On closer inspection, and particularly by viewing the side, we can see that it's a pin-up model splayed across the dog's skull: a representation of the sport's allure, particularly among men.
20% of sales from this piece will go to a charity dedicated to stop dog-fighting.
Is It a Sin to Touch a Dead Pig Skin?
Despite the popularity that football enjoys in American culture, the Superbowl remains the largest human trafficking event in the country. The men and money that this event attracts have created a certain inevitability for for sex trafficking victims who are often transported across the country to be present during these games.
In this piece, a woman reaches across the top of a pig skull, twisting uncomfortably as she strives to obtain something out of her reach. Her opposing leg stretches across the bottom of the skull as if blocking a blow.
Artist Statement and more information coming soon!