In Uncovering, I use digital technology to subvert age-old stereotypes regarding female bodies, roles and relationships. It begins with a series of quilt images. From afar they look like soft, 3-dimensional fabric creations, in patterns like “Ohio Stars” and “Grandmother’s Flower Garden,” traditionally sewn by women for domestic use. Up close they’re flat, hard, Photoshopped artworks, depicting strangely inappropriate images like strippers, dollar bills, and guns. One quilt, based on the Amish “Sunshine and Shadow” pattern, incorporates idealized body parts, clothes, and accessories from a deconstructed issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine. It is printed on fabric and sculpted in the hollow shape of a curled up teenage girl.
After constructing the quilts, I started looking at the bodies they cover up. In search of iconic shots of naked men and women, I uncovered a surprising situation: Photographs of nude women made by famous male photographers are myriad. Pictures of naked men made by canonic female artists are very hard to find. Many straight men, it seems, are reluctant to pose for women and are uncomfortable when gazing publicly at their own gender unclothed. So in a reversal of traditional roles, using my husband as model and muse, I created what seem to be digital collages but are actually single images of scenes reflected in broken mirrors. As with the quilts, they are 21st- century trompe l’oeil illusions that challenge longstanding power structures.
In the third and final stage of Uncovering, I join my unclothed husband, exposing our bodies as separate, yet inseparable. I photograph each of us nude and standing, front and back, arms down. The 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 some careful looking to untangle the overlapping parts. I'm working on a series that will include as many different types of couples as possible.