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September 2018

Would You Say That to Your Mother? deals with themes of sexism and feminism by using phrases said to women that I have a personal connection to. Many of these phrases are commonly said to women on a daily basis throughout the world. I always wonder, would these men dare say these things to their mothers? What makes their femme friends or strangers different? In this series, I use the classic and well-recognized depiction of the Virgin – or Mother – Mary, as a stand-in for all mothers and all women. I reference classical art and historical images of Mary; using light to create a halo and wearing her blue, white, and red dressings. But instead of the passive Mary, we are used to seeing, this Mary reacts with disapproving, disgusted, and shocked expressions to the phrases being said to her.

Using cut-out letters arranged in a ransom-note-style typeface, I impose the sexist phrases into Mary’s space. Each letter is carefully hand-cut and arranged in a style reminiscent of ransom letters and connotes an air of creepiness that contrasts the art historical style of the photography. These phrases are obviously being imposed upon Mary and do not belong.

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