The End of Roe Vs. Wade

The Appointment, Oil and acrylic on canvas, 2002

I am unsure of how to start this post or if I should be writing it. Hello Google search results and potential future employers!

When the Supreme Court announced its decision to overturn the ruling that established a woman’s right to abortion and reproductive freedom, it was not a surprise. Everyone had known this was coming since the ruling draft leaked, and even before then…it was known. I’m not keen to start talking about the Supreme Court’s politicization. It would just be ranting. I also won’t be commenting on Thomas’ further unsurprising comments and what else this ruling will likely result in. Today I’ll just be talking about existing as a female.

I was surprised at my physical reaction to the official ruling. I felt like a cold, heavy sink iron, numb on top of enraged. The type of angry halved by clarity in contrast to chaos. As I sat at a red light, listening to the local radio news, memories of some ancient paintings I made began rising to the surface. You can see them above and below. I painted them in 2002, I think, while living in Chesapeake, VA, with cheap canvas and paint.

The Appointment 2, Oil and acrylic on canvas, 2002

Unskilled, ugly, not ‘family friendly.’ I don’t care. I needed to make them.

I think I’m going to indulge in a ramble. I was young and only just becoming comfortable with being the legal definition of an adult. I was coming to terms with what it meant to be a woman, with all the body parts and their social weight.

I distinctly remember learning about my reproductive organs in an awkward sex-ed class during my middle school years. The part about my ovaries stuck with me. I recall feeling repulsed especially acutely after hearing that my insides were full of eggs and learning it was my body’s purpose to breed. The fear of the responsibility of these parts I didn’t consent to nauseated me. I had nightmares about being thrust into motherhood with a baby I didn’t remember having; it was deformed and screaming. When I eventually saw the David Lynch film Eraserhead the baby in the movie felt uncomfortably familiar.

As I grew older, I felt my friendships with boys change. It became clear to me that they saw me as different than them: inferior, other, less. My value as a friend was less because I was female. I met boys that made it clear they never saw women as equal to men, and perhaps even less than humans. I mirrored their treatment of me. I valued them more because they were male. I feared other girls and bonding with them. I didn’t want to be like them, like myself. I yearned for male approval. I was the cliche of ‘not like the other girls.’ I hate that I wasted so many years avoiding the love and support of female friendships. I sacrificed my wellbeing to internalized misogyny.

Then, when I became socially acceptably attractive, things changed again. There was an illusion of power when it came to males finding me desirable. Instead, it was just another danger to navigate.

Women are things to collect as numbers, abstract on pedestals, control, abuse, hunt, steal, win, covet for access to sex, and see as ruined once they’ve reached their goal. Also, to fear because we can make fathers. They hate the mothers that they make in turn. We threaten them with life.

And before you comment. Yes, I know. Not all men. But let me pause here to bring up another ugly epiphany I’ve had. Many men who claim to be pro-choice don’t wear that label in support of women. They think they do but are pro-choice because they want to be able to force their sexual partners into abortions. Their support is centered on themselves and not women. They forget that pro-choice is about women having the ability to control their body and healthcare, including choosing to carry a child to term, not just access to abortions.

These paintings are the anger and alienation I felt at being simplified down to my parts and how those parts could be valued or weaponized. My biology felt like a time bomb; I had to try to not set it off.

And then, as I’ve aged, as my fertility wanes, my value is still in flux. Now I get to watch my social currency, sexual of course, diminish to nothing in bewilderment as I simultaneously mourn it and feel relief.

I am sitting at my dining table with my daughter, the child I feared having for most of my adult life, yet I am so grateful to have had. I hated the danger my body seemed to put me in, how it defined my existence, and the expectations laid on it, but still I longed to experience all its power and bring a child into the world. And I did. I’m glad I was allowed to choose this experience and not have it forced on me.

I’m also sitting here realizing that I wouldn’t feel safe becoming pregnant in the current political climate in Pennsylvania. My health and safety depend largely on the upcoming PA Governor election.

And what of my daughter and her future? She doesn’t feel the weight of her biology yet, but I know, like most women, that she’ll struggle under it much sooner than is fair.

Death and Ponies: NFT Series on OpenSea

After a lot of thought and research, I’ve decided to try my hand at an NFT collection, using the results of part of my painting planing process. I realize many have mixed, or not so mixed feelings about NFTs and crypto in general, but please trust that I’ve been learning a lot about these spaces through my day job and my own efforts, and that I am experimenting with a purpose.

I chose to mint this series of images I took for a specific reason: they are crappy, fast and cheaply assembled, put together in a mad dash and naive way in order to document a thought, which is how I feel about a lot of NFT art. It felt fitting.

I think I’m more excited about blockchain technology and metaverse spaces for other types of artists than for myself. As well as for how this may influence artificial intelligence progress and how art is made and shared, especially ‘installation art’. There is a lot to be rightfully wary of and excited for.

If you want to chat about it, hit me up. My grasp is limited, but I’m always open to conversation and education.

Death and Ponies: Dedicated to Girlhood Grief

Death and Ponies #1

Death and Ponies is a vanitas, a genre of art using symbols of death and change as a reminder of their inevitability, inspired photography series by Philadelphia based artist Elizabeth Virginia Levesque.

Elizabeth, a lover of kitsch and childhood superstitions, uses decaying toys from her own childhood and other universal symbols like skulls, combining them with cheap craft materials.

This photography series started as a tool to plan future oil paintings, but soon became their own body of work, as she realized the photos themselves had an intrinsic charm and dark humor that didn’t need to be interpreted through paint to exist as high art. Elizabeth decided to offer them as NFTs, feeling they belonged to this new medium rather than as printed and framed pieces, due to their glitchy and contemporary color schemes and topic, ephemerality, which opposes blockchain tech. The saying goes that the internet is forever, and maybe blockchains are making that truer than ever.

Life Updates

Again and again I keep meaning to update this site and blog, but when I attempt it I become overwhelmed.

It’s been quite a long time since I’ve used this site as an outlet for my creativity and thoughts, and there’s a lot of reasons why. To simplify, I will list them below:

LIFE EVENTS

  • My father passes away
  • PAFA graduation with my BFA and Certificate in Painting
  • ASE PAFA Graduation show
  • Started an internship at an art appraisal and advisory firm
  • Started a weekend job at Borrelli’s Chestnut Hill Gallery as a Gallery Assistant
  • Moved back to Upper Darby into my childhood home/renting from my mother
  • Curated a PAFA Alumni Exhibition at Borrelli’s
  • Met my significant other
  • Covid-19 pandemic begins (world shuts down day after PAFA Alumni art opening)
  • Became pregnant with my daughter
  • Internship becomes a full time job as a Marketing & Communications Associate
  • Finally launch greeting card brand Plenilune Phl Pa Etsy Shop
  • Give birth and go on maternity leave
  • Return to work
  • Company I work for merges with UK based art advisory firm
  • Partner moves in
  • Leave weekend gallery job to free up time
  • Finish Plenilune Phl Website

Sad and wonderful things. An enormous amount of change that is difficult to summarize, but I intend on posting soon about some of these events, especially the art shows, due to wanting to share the amazing work, even if late.

Capacity of Color – PAFA Class Curated Art Show

During the spring semester of 2019 I was enrolled in a class called Exhibitions & Curatorial Visions taught by artist Alexis Granwell. Our assignment was to come up with an art show concept, put out a call for art, curate and install in PAFA’s Anne Bryan Gallery.

We chose the broad theme of color, choosing to privilege this element over all others and titled it Capacity of Color. Every student in the class took on a specific job that goes into throwing a successful art show. I did most of the advertisement collateral: art show flyer, instagram images, press release design and so on.

Capacity of Color was an overall cohesive and successful exhibition. The space, a basement gallery with low ceilings and no natural light, was used effectively. The low placement of many of the displayed sculptures, cleverly created an intimacy between the viewer and art. Other installations, like Suji Kanneganti and Jessica Aquino’s fabric pieces, flowed from floor to ceiling to create an effective upward movement, leading the eye from the floor pieces to the two-dimensional works on the walls.

There was a large number of small pieces in the show, stand alone and in groupings. I believe, if installed in a standard way, they would have been overwhelmed, but instead, they were staggered which helped make a more interesting space and saved each piece from being swallowed by the white walls and basement shadows.

There were a few pieces in the show that I did not feel played well with the rest, and if I was able to change things, I would have left some works out and instead juried other submissions in. I believe that the less representational works were, the more they fit into the overall exhibition.

I learned a lot from the experience and will jump at chances to curate in the future.

The Capacity of Color is a student-curated
exhibition of sculpture, site-specific installation,
painting, drawing, printmaking, and works on paper
from the Brodsky Center Archive. This exhibition deals
with 2D and 3D work that communicates the language
of color in terms of the optical, the symbolic, the
aggressive, the delicate, and the tactile. This grouping
of work pushes the boundaries of the capacity of color
in an expansive and exciting way.

Exhibiting Artists:
Alicia Greco – Ashley Garner – Bernadette Colburn
Bryon Kim – Claire Tenhula – Emma Keller – Iris Padilla
Isabelle Schipper – Jessica Aquino – JP Calabro
Kelly Micca – Kemeys Goethe – Kiki Smith – Nasir Young
Neill Catanguy – Rebecca Giles – Sally Richards
Shane Lowder – Suji Kanneganti – Jiatong Tian

Unicorns – More Childhood Scribblings

You can practically hear the dot matrix printer grinding away when looking at these pages!

While in elementary school(Garrettford Elementary was a Great Place to Grow!), I participated in some creative writing classes. Our county schools also participated in a program/contest called The Young Authors, where every year kids submitted stories they wrote, which were then judged by grade. I loved it and won several times.

This little book, which I never finished the drawings for all the pages, was from a summer creative writing class. I was likely in 3rd grade at the time. I was really excited when I found this in a box at my parents house. It’s been interesting to see that the themes in my paintings go back so far. Unicorns and skulls.

It’s clear I loved fantasy as a child. My favorite toys were My Little Pony dolls, She-Ra and my Rainbow Brite. This little book was probably a result of watching The Last Unicorn. I also was obsessed with Unico. It was life changing when that came on the Disney channel.