CHIFFONS

This series of art works printed on fabric, are rooted in the cultural tradition of feminism and, specifically feminist film theory.

Re-scripting Hollywood is a series that investigates how women were treated over the years in the cinema when they took the ultimate symbol of privileged male power–the gun–into their own hands. I researched Hollywood shooters from the ‘20s silent films to current films, especially the femme fatale, to assess the changes over time and found that the gun was a readable barometer in each decade of the propaganda directed at women by a male dominated film industry. My intention was to isolate these images from their original context to project my own script on these subjects, portrayed on drawings, collages, books, aprons, pillow cases and bed spreads, but especially on large scale transparent chiffon fabric that hang from the ceiling as large as 20x40’. The floor to ceiling works can be installed as curtains or room dividers, and are printed on transparent chiffon fabric which recalls the veiling of women and the surface of the silver screen.

The power accorded to the femme fatale is a function of fears linked to the notions of uncontrollable drives, the fading of subjectivity, and the loss of conscious agency—all themes of emergent psychoanalysis. But the femme fatale is situated as evil and is frequently punished or killed. Her textual eradication involves a desperate, reassertion of control on the part of the threatened male subject. Hence, it would be a mistake to see her as some kind of heroine of modernity. She is not the subject of feminism but a symptom of male fears about feminism. Nevertheless, the representation—like any representation—is not totally under the control of its producers and, once disseminated, comes to take on a life of its own. Feminism, Film Theory, and Psychoanalysis by Mary Ann Doane

Film stars are removed from the context of the original Hollywood script and are depicted as self-defining agents that defy Hollywood stereotyping. The intention is to draw the viewer into the process of re-scripting the film’s message, and this process then becomes part of the piece itself. Film stars frequently represented on the chiffons include: Gena Rowlands, Anjelica Huston, Susan Sarandon, Marlyn Monroe, Gloria Graham, Ida Lupino, Mae West, Grace Jones, Sigourney Weaver and Marlene Dietrich.

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