Recipient of the The Bold and the Beautiful Art Prize.
THE LANGUAGE OF MATERIALS
In my project I have investigated how after immigrating to Australia in 1998, having been brought up in a traditional Chinese culture, I was exposed to a more progressive contemporary culture, which lead to an interest in Feminism.
European artist Louise Bourgeois and UK artist Linder Sterling inspired culture shocks in me. Notably, Bourgeois’ Fallen Woman (2001), painted on linen and depicting a provocative narrative of women as objectified household objects connects to what I am attempting to portray in my creative practice today. Feminism is still contested because of the historical significance and power that is attributed to a patriarchal society. Therefore, like Bourgeois, I intend to create visually confronting art using figuration where ‘woman’ as subject is constructed, yet has also been obscured in some manner to indicate the current context of women in the world. Linder Sterling is renowned for her photomontages, appropriated from pornographic magazines that objectify the female form. Her work demonstrates how truly shocking the historical oppression of women has been in all societies. The artistic techniques of these women are significant in my own practice, and therefore I am attempting to explore how I can continue to carry on their legacies through my feminist artworks.
Consequently, I am challenging preconceived notions of women as subservient to men, reflecting on how men have historically erased traits in women that were threatening to them – intelligence, anger, violence, courage and defiance. In my project, Installation of The Language of Materials, one of my untitled hand-stitched artworks disputes the long-held sexist archetype of the devoted and modest housewife and instead portrays the opposite with a naked, shameless phallic symbol attached to an anthropomorphised house. The naked, glaring penis is in full view to force the viewer to recognise how societal views of limiting women are outdated.
The views defined in my works reflect my frustration as a woman whose career opportunities and personal expression were no longer viable after marriage, and how becoming a wife and mother has shaped my place in society.