"Who am I then? Tell me that first, and then, if I like being that person, I'll come up: if not, I'll stay down here till I'm somebody else" - Alice, from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland
Despite an inborn and fierce sense of personal agency, it seems the fluctuating definition of Self has always somehow remained elusively outside of my person – somewhere in the context of my ever-shifting surroundings. Insofar as I can imagine being someone else, this seems to be more or less the case for everyone – by degrees, according to various factors such as appearance, age, class, gender, race, etc. We all seem to go about our lives mostly unaware of the arbitrary social myths and obsolete ideologies that construct, define, and classify our notions of being, all the while looking to find meaning and value in conflicting cultural language and imagery which acts as a mirror of who we believe we must be, as we attempt to make sense of our identities.
In these paintings, which incorporate memory and childhood fantasy, I wrestle with ideas of how language, story, imagery, and the imperatives of social myth function to construct our ideas of the feminine Self and its relationship to history and culture. Growing up in a family of seamstresses, grade school teachers and austere religious expectations, the process of dressmaking seems a fitting metaphor for feminine identity construction while the genre of the fairy tale works as a fantastical paradigm within which I am able to explore the contradicting realities of a creative empowered subject versus an objectifying moralizing system of ideologies of what it means to be a woman or a girl.