Chapters of Artwork

The "Jane Series"

Prologue

In patriarchal culture;

 

when a woman creates anything

it is craft

when a man creates anything

it is art

when a woman believes something

it is superstition

when a man believes something

it is religion

when a woman speaks something

it is a dialect

when man speaks

it is language

 

Artist Statement

Codes are like organized categories that are created to please the social “order”.   Over the past few years, I have witnessed our countries political hypocrisy of “codes” by selfish individuals authoritatively condemning difference in order to present a neatly packaged initiative of oppression of "the other". 

 

Newspaper articles, television, film and pop culture announce this “norm” in such a manner that seemingly appears to have us all in agreement, shaking our heads, when in reality that’s not the case.  It is through this hypocrisy and propaganda that I create art in reaction to my lived experiences. I speak out about current and historical challenges of individual and systematic patterns of injustice. 

 

Because oppression is not just “out there” in the world but experienced within our own bodies, minds and hearts, it is through art that I see a vehicle for change. 

 

The art that I create breathes and morphs into a vision, expanding the storytelling of a moment, space, and continuation of my endurance of this oppression.

 

2004-present

"Romantic Friendship"
  • Romantic Friendship was created in 2005 in response to the negative media propaganda depicted in my local newspaper and television over same-sex marriage debates in Massachusetts.  My research lead me in a few different directions but for this piece I settled on two influential resources such as; Elizabeth Mavor, The Ladies of Llangollen: A Study of Romantic Friendship (1971) and Lillian Faderman's Surpassing the Love of Men: Romantic Friendship and Love Between Women from the Renaissance to the Present (1981).   I was surprised to read of intimate, exclusive, and often erotic relations between white women of the middle and upper classes.  I also didn’t realize that, prior to the 19th Century, these relationships were perceived as normal and compatible with heterosexual Anglo-European culture. Within this piece I have scanned images from 1940’s and 50’s LIFE magazines.  Placing the “yellow hat lady” as the central figure, repeating her in a mirror image of herself, with a ghostly type figure above representing her history, giving the piece a sense of duality and reflection of my history and myself. I envisioned this piece as a springboard to promote discussion, using the text as a resource to further investigate historical accuracies of contested categories of same-sex relations.
"Target Jane"
  • Target Jane was created in 2010 after reading article after article and viewing news clip after news clip on my television about Health Care Reform in the US.  On a daily basis women's bodies were, and still are today, being used as argument for or against the Affordable Health Care Act.  I found myself feeling as if I was a target without a voice, being held captive at the mercy of political leaders that were supposed to represent me.
"Silent Jane"
  • Silent Jane was created in 2010 for an annual Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) exhibition.  I used this opportunity to create a piece honoring lesbian feminist of the past while celebrating those of today.  I used the words “Silence=Death”, borrowing from activist group ACT-UP! (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), as an outcry to remind the viewer that women and lesbian couples continue to be used as targets for political gain.  I found the text useful to cause a mental reaction in the mind of the viewer. In the past the meaning was used to speak out about the lack of governmental support for AIDS research and medication. I tapped into that history in order to speak to that of the same-sex marriage debates continuing on the sate level.   During the time I worked on this piece, Federal legislators were debating to end DADT and begin the push to appeal DOMA.  Also, women’s bodies were also targets for political gain by legislation being passed to defund Planned Parenthood and place further restrictions on service providers that performed abortions making the providers a sort of police and authority to manage women’s bodies.
"Kicking Jane"
  • Kicking Jane was created in 2011was created in response to State Rep. Senfronia Thompson's moment of personal privilege during the 82nd Texas Legislative Session in the spring of 2011.  Ms. Thompson was responding to HB 2093, which dealt with insurance and contractors.  It had been brought to her attention that the Texas Civil Justice League (TCJL) was distributing a flyer targeting the bill.  What made her stand to speak was not that the TCJL opposed her legislation; but that the organization used a close up breastfeeding infant over which were written the words "Don't expand the nanny sate".  It wasn't only the TCJL that bore the brunt of Thompson's anger.  She also criticized the male members of the House for allowing and even perpetuation an atmosphere of such disrespect toward women to exist in the first place. It's significant to point out that this occurred in the closing days of the legislative session where a number of female lawmakers had experienced multiple debates on GOP bills limiting access and support for women's health in Texas. There were bills proposed to renew the Texas Women's Health Program at such a low amount so to ensure that the current laws prohibiting money to go to Planned Parenthood would be intensified by these new bills. In addition to Ms. Thompson, Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Tomball, went to the back mic to stating that the flyers are not the only things offensive to women on the House floor.  She suggested she had even seen "pornography" as lawmakers work in the lower chamber during that session. Thompson's speech received a standing ovation. I took one small portion of her speech; "…during this legislative session, we have spent about 30-40% of our time kicking the reproductive organs of women down the road…" and built this piece.  This was my way of bringing to light that even as a woman living in the "land of the free", men and some women lawmakers believe they know better than me how I should live in my own body, holding me hostage to my own reproductive freedoms.

E-mai: contact@triciaearl.com

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