Saturday, October 07, 2006

My next exhibition is at Pukka Gallery, in the new location, 430 Parkdale
Avenue (between Wellington and Gladstone), Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
The show opens on Friday, October 13 and continues through November 5.
The artist talk is Saturday October 14 at 2pm at the gallery.

Mud Flap Girl Manifesto
Kate barry

This manifesto continues my longstanding preoccupation with the female body and themes of sexuality, power, and desire. It is an extension of my concern with how Western society represents femininity within pop culture.

The Mud Flap Girl symbol is found on the mud flaps of trucks and within pop culture zones such as car culture, rock culture, haute couture, hip-hop culture, and the sex trade.

I am amazed at how the complexity of meaning underlying this sign is normalized in our everyday life. I am also amazed at the popularity of this symbol: a representation of a young girl free from desire and intellectual thought.

This manifesto questions how pop culture symbols of femininity construct desire. Icons such as Hugh Hefner's Playboy Bunny, the 1960's cartoon Betty Boop, and the post-World War II sex-goddess: the Pin-up Girl, all position female desire in relation to the male gaze. This power relationship emphasizes woman as sex-object, instead of woman as desiring subject.

How do symbols such as the sex-object become normalized within pop culture? How do the mechanisms of visual culture and mass media work to desensitize audiences? How does it become 'natural' for a woman to be free of desire?

In my practice I develop an antithesis to this objectification. I question the desensitization of the female body by focusing on its corporeality where images of body organs such as the brain, the reproductive system and the skeletal frame are included in my Mud Flap Girl images. I use my own hair and blood within my work; it is this visceral connection that subverts the notion of woman as object and (re)presents the physicality of my body.

Bunny Phonic, Rider Project, NYC.