Do more conservative environments put limitations on how we express our gender?
How do we create safe spaces for people who are not cis or do not align themselves with one gender?
How do we influence children to express their gender?
How does capitalism feed into the “two-gender” mentality?
How do cultures adapt gender through time?
I plan on doing a series of portraits: one in oil, another made with items from the subjects closet/room arranged to emulate their face, and the last as a collage of different photos of the subject through time. I was inspired by Blake Neubert‘s paintings where he scrapes away the top layer of paint with a “normal” looking portrait to reveal something disturbing or morbid underneath related to the subject. Unlike Neubert, I don’t want to portray my subjects as morbid. I want to paint my subjects the way they presented back home or how they did in more conservative settings and scrape away the top to reveal how they express their gender identities now. For example my classmate and friend Jehan presented very masculinely and conventionally back home but the longer he has spent in NYC, and with such an accepting environment, he has begun to express himself more with his makeup and clothing.
I’m choosing oil because of it’s slow drying time since I am going to be peeling or scraping the paint on the top of the portrait to reveal whats underneath. Acrylic would dry too quickly to produce the same effect of scraping. In Neubert’s videos of his pieces it looks like he has changed from painting directly on top of the base portrait and scraping off all the paint to reveal how the original portrait stained the canvas. Now it appears he puts a piece of plexiglass or other hard clear material between the two portraits as to not disturb the one on the bottom. I would need to practice the two different techniques or see if I can innovate my own way of revealing both portraits. It’d also be interesting to have my subjects scrape at their own paintings as an act of assertion and empowerment.
I am also drawing inspiration from the book A Rrose is a Rrose is a Rrose: Gender Performance in Photography by Jennifer Blessing. The book is collection of artworks from the Guggenheim’s exhibition A Rrose is a Rrose is a Rrose: Gender Performance in Photography. There are nultiple pieces I’m drawn to and would like to incorporate elements of each into my final.