FEATURED WORKS: Monica Beckett, BFA '17
In my work I examine and challenge the representative stereotypes of women in western society by juxtaposing sexualized bodies against their feminist opposition. I combine found images from the Internet and textiles to create an encompassing expression of my social critique with regards to feminist values. The embrace of alternate mediums by incorporating fabric, embroidery thread, ribbon and other ‘domestic arts,’ expresses techniques that reference the artistic traditions of women and femininity itself.
The second-wave feminist movement is explored through my use of photo embroidery. My embroidery reflects the emotions I feel towards the treatment of women in society, piercing the bodies of my subjects with my embroidery needle.
A humorous reading of feminist subject matter is taken so as to make the subversive topic more easily digestible to viewers. By using popular stereotypes against their intended meaning I create a new interpretation of ‘women as object.’ Pornstars are largely my subject matter since they represent a socially unacceptable and stifled group of women not normally discussed. I attempt to open this discussion and expand their understanding, either by using my own body or theirs, to become a symbol of independent control and power, combatting the male gaze and the photographs pornographic purpose. I free my subjects’ bodies from their base objectification into symbols for sexual freedom and liberation, inviting conversation into an expansion from a singularly male-centered sexual environment for pleasure, towards feminine desire and sexual dominance.
By balancing obviousness with subtlety and a reworking of the traditional representation of the female figure, critical observations towards the social values society places on women can be made. My work can be interpreted as a reflection of the second- wave feminist movement and a satirical portrayal of the oppressed body. I would like viewers of my work to question the misogynistic representation of women in North American society, and find open-mindedness towards certain suppressed groups of women and the feminist movement. - Monica Beckett, 4th year