I came to art-making in middle-age, born in an analog world and delving eagerly into the digital. In Uncovering, I use 21st-century digital tools to subvert age-old stereotypes regarding female bodies, roles and relationships.
The Uncovering series began with a quilt. Not a pieced-together fabric bedcover but something utterly fake, totally photographic. An ironic commentary on reality versus appearance. I researched historic quilt patterns and challenged myself to transform these familiar designs into something entirely digital that could be printed on paper and hung on a wall. I photographed fabric samples depicting strangely inappropriate subjects like strippers, dollar bills, and guns downloaded from the internet, then used Photoshop to cut and paste them into traditional patterns like “Grandmother’s Flower Garden” and “ Double Wedding Rings.”
A quilt is a body covering, and after making the quilts I was ready to look at the bodies underneath. Photographs of nude women made by men are a dime-a-dozen, but where were pictures of naked men made by women? Very hard to find. Straight men, I discovered, are reluctant to pose for women and are uncomfortable when gazing publicly at their own gender unclothed. Using my husband as model and muse, I began to make what seem to be Photoshopped collages of fragmented male bodies floating in colorful settings but are actually undoctored photographs made in the studio with an elaborate set-up of mirrors and reflections. As with the quilts, they are 21st– century trompe l’oeil illusions that question traditional gender roles.
In yet another stage of Uncovering, I wanted to pose my husband and myself together in a way that was tender and intimate but not sexual. I photographed each of us separately, front and back, nude and standing, arms down. These images are printed on transparent glass rectangles, my back on one side, my husband’s front on the other. Then the reverse: his front, my back. It takes a bit of looking to untangle the overlapping parts. These body blendings convey so much about love, togetherness, and intimacy that I am now photographing other couples in a similar way.