Thoughts & Exploration

New Work: Gender & Sexuality Expectations

Over the 5 week break between semesters, I began working on 5 new paintings with the goal of further defining the imagery and color scheme for a 4’x8′ participatory work that will be a part of MCAD’s Minnesota Mean student project.

This week, I sat down to analyze what these new works are communicating through a breakdown of a brand new arrangement of imagery:

Nails (physically hammered into the painting)
Black String (wrapped around the nails)
Stems/Fruit/Vegetable associations

WIP Clown

The predecessor for this new visual vocabulary, a WIP nicknamed “Clown”.


What I found in these elements is a complex language of finding a solution, an understanding, or feeling of being “whole” as a woman and a survivor of sexual violence. These paintings are a display of my conflicting ideas about gender and sexuality, through bodily associations, personal color symbolism, and attempts at tension versus acceptance, societal expectations versus self worth.


As I cut out and put the finishing touches on these works, I will continue to think about how these paintings function alongside or in contrast to the participatory pieces I’ve created, and what message specifically do I intend to communicate with my audience as I move forward.

MCAD Life, MFA Semester 1

Semester 1 @ MCAD + MnArtists

Graduate school has been an intense catalyst for realizing and imagining new goals that harness every part of myself.

Rigid connectors and knots that shape my philosophies function equally with the fragile threads of new experiences in Minneapolis.

As I focus on sexual violence and ask many questions about the concept of rape culture in the United States, I’ve challenged my methodologies and my media toward these goals:


For my final critique of the semester, I presented a soft sculpture on the floor in the corner of our gallery along with a stack of papers for each of my peers that read:

“As a survivor of sexual violence, it has been difficult to rediscover the integral connection between myself and my own sexuality, both physically and mentally.  Over time, I have tried to bridge this disconnect by reflecting on past experiences that shaped my own sex education and bodily associations.

This ongoing project functions as a timeline; a record of experiences that shaped who I was before being assaulted and the cyclical mental and corporeal identifications that have resulted.

I invite you to work together to untangle these experiences in order to arrive at a “truth” or understanding of the complexities of identity shaped through my experience with sex and constructed sexuality.”

For the following five minutes, everyone worked together in silence to unravel the piece below.

Untitled (Sexuality as Identity)


I will continue to build onto this piece while thinking of how this and other future pieces can give others the strength to communicate, can fuel face-to-face conversations, and help people understand the complexities and consequences of placing all of the responsibility on the victim.

*As my practice grows and changes, I will be housing graduate projects at Keep an eye on the site as I explore participatory art while challenging the visual vocabulary in my paintings.

Thank you for continued support.