The Craft of The Forgotten Woman: My Dedication explores the history of feminism and the representation of women in the past.
Throughout history, women have been oppressed in many ways. This has been documented across art, with women being objectified and misrepresented, particularly with ideals of the male gaze.
My artwork includes appropriations from several different time periods, with a focus on iconic and feminist women. In the style of Cindy Sherman, I created self-portraits appropriating significant women.
These portraits work to personalise my artwork whilst referencing the past to evoke meaning. Jenny Holzer and Barbara Kruger’s use of text in their artist practices have inspired me to use text to add meaning and draw attention to issues of focus. I included many quotes from a range of important women who have impacted history in some way.
I incorporated a range of ceramic techniques including the use of glazes, slips, underglazes, copper oxide, sgraffito, inlay, and decals, celebrating craft in my exploration of the many applications of ceramics.
My artwork includes signs and symbols throughout, suggesting meaning not only when seen from distance, but when looked at in detail. The handprint not only links to the way women have been constrained through history but includes a personal reference. The underglaze decal of a woman has her head messing and blends into pink underglaze to suggest her lack of identity and personality. The colour choices are purposeful: pink, blue, white and green and refer to stereotypes, gender and fertility.
The domesticity women have been expected to conform to for centuries is explored by including several aspects that relate to the traditional role of women in the household, such as fabrics as well as connections to culinary and other domestic work.
Decals split up my vases’ compositions and add visual interest. They each reference my concept as well as including another craft of photography and digital media.
In exploring the ceramic form and the oppression of women through art and culture, I challenge the viewer to reassess history, to acknowledge women of the past, as well as challenge their traditional expectations of high art.