Hello! From my BSMT studio at Mana Contemporary! During my time here I have been working on several projects that are a variety of different mediums.
Currently, I am interested in the various perceptions society has on women, I am particularly drawn to how women and beauty relate. Throughout history women have felt the need to reach certain beauty ideals. They would participate in self deprecating beauty rituals to reach this societal standard. Some examples include using lead based pigments to attain pale skin or wearing restraining corsets to achieve a thinner waistline.
Personally I feel that many of these acts are absurd. I want to expose these elements in my work by using both horror and humor.
The first project I have been working on has been a series of parochial collars. I am interested in how garments restrict certain parts of the body and almost seem like a punishment to wear. I often think about my years in school and how I was supposed to wear a uniform. The uniform I had to wear was particularly straining in the neck area which lead me to the idea for this project.
I am also interested in how women in particular are expected to wear or fit into these specific garments to satisfy a specific beauty standard. In response to this, I created wearable sculptures have all been fabricated from sheet metal, cast metal, and fabric. As of right now I have a small grouping of them, but I plan to make 12 in total. All of these collars will be documented in photographs and displayed in an exhibition.
In conjunction with this project I have created 12 hand drawn doily patterns that will be laser cut wooden table tops to display these collars as sculptural objects for exhibition.
The second idea I have been experimenting with is the idea of coming of age accomplishments for women. Whenever a girl reaches certain milestones in becoming a woman, often these accomplishments can be disappointing. When I was about 9 or 10 years old there was a boy who used to tease me relentlessly. He would steal my school supplies, throw gum in my hair, and often try to humiliate me in class. Whenever I would complain to certain adults my complaints would be dismissed and I would simply be told that he had a crush on me and that is how boys are. I always thought this was problematic because I had to endure bullying while dismissing his behavior. Certain women would treat this situation as an accomplishment because a boy liked me.
In response to this I have been experimenting with the idea of trophies that employ aspects of humor. My goal is to use these awkward accomplishments to shed light on how women are viewed and treated.
During my time at Mana Contemporary I also plan on experimenting with performance based work that relates to my research on feminine roles within society. I want to experiment with clothing and how it sculpts the body. I want to use women’s garments to talk about expectations for women and how they are viewed in society. I am very excited to work in this new studio space and see what emerges in the process of making!
By Katie Hovencamp