Expressions of female sensuality, ideal beauty and the stereotypical feminine are common components of my work that speak to my own interpretations and reflections of what “feminine” and beauty are. I’ve worked comfortably in those areas, managing to maintain a level of sugary sweetness playfully punctuated by “dirty parts”.
When Coagula Curatorial invited me to create a mural for the transom window at the gallery this fall I was excited for a continuation of the somewhat surreal hyper feminine, sexy yet ephemeral mural “A Decadent Work” at West LA College this past February. The timing for this next work was unexpectedly influential to my concept as I became increasingly upset by the general disregard for women’s rights made public during this past general election, words that threatened to strip from women any progress that has been made in regards to our equal treatment as US citizens in the past century.
The 5 part mural, Birthing Rite, is not a playful celebration of the feminine. It is my personal reaction to ignorance and an abominable obstruction of progress. The full color completed work will envision a large central orchid symbolizing the autonomous female, actively aborting a sac of premature snake eggs (referenced from an image of a pregnant eviscerated snake). Symbolism of the snake has historically been feminine.
For the patriarchy, snake has been associated with Eve, and both have been symbols of evil, the “Fall of Man” and fear of the unknown. Ancient maps often depicted great serpents at the outer edges of the seas, warning men not to dare sail their ships beyond the known to certain death. Ancient men used the symbol of the snake as the goddess, depicting death, the unknown, and the uncharted. Snake has also been the archetypal symbol of the Great Mother Goddess and a symbol of the Kundalini Shakti energy, the feminine energy that ignites and fuels our spiritual awakening process.
I believe that we are all privy to experiences that enlighten and make us wiser, where we embrace and learn from our fears, accepting the opposites inside and outside of us, and reconcile our own masculine and feminine. Even a little gratitude and appreciation for the Great Mother (creation itself) will help guide us all on our path toward autonomy, recognizing true beauty and joy, and ultimately unbiased respect for our fellow human.