The female body has been claimed, staked out for centuries; from the first chapter of the bible it is defined as that which is corrupted and corrupting. The word “glamour” was once used to describe the “bewitching” of a man by a woman’s eyes. The repression of the female body (and by the same token, female sexuality) is concurrent with the repression of ideas, the separation of sexuality into a binary system, a system of power and control.
For women, the issue of creating a self-portrait is called into question by these issues of looking, and the question of how and where we situate ourselves in relation to the images of other women that surround us. Says Mary Ann Caws, “(they) are not...entirely other, nor can we pretend to see (them) as such. We are folded up in and into - implicated - and even tied up by our seeing”
The mirror implies a reversal of what is ‘given’. Using the framework of the mirror, I discovered a veil, a lamination of liquid holding the image beyond the reach of the viewer, referring the viewer endlessly to what is not seen - playing with that desire to hold the image. Similarly the paintings insist on the importance of the lived experience - disappearing back into the photograph should any attempt be made at reproduction. It is an attempt to defy translation. To be unique.