In this series, I am appropriating classic paintings of female nudes by male artists and “recasting” the figure in each painting with one of my own female models. Instead of assuming a feminized or erotic pose, however, I ask my models to embody masculinity, striving for female nudes that project power, strength, and control, qualities more commonly found in representations of the male nude.
In my paintings of women, I want to remove as much femininity as the female body allows. By queering my subjects in this way, and in the very act of re-creating works by men as a female artist, I hope to provoke questions about artistic representations of women. If women artists placed as much emphasis on the female nude as male artists have done, how would the paintings differ? How do both female and male viewers respond when female nudes portray elements of masculinity? Could such images challenge the phenomenon of the objectifying male gaze, and could they even activate a “lesbian gaze”? If my paintings can create a nontraditional viewing space—one in which female nudes take on multiple complexities to transcend their traditional status as merely beautiful objects—then perhaps they can inspire a broader awareness of how we think about gender.