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Behind the Door: Vanity’s Demand by Milisa Taylor-Hicks
Jun 2, 2017 - Sep 9, 2017
The objective of the photographic body of work, Behind the Door: Vanity’s Demand, is to challenge patriarchal gender norms and offer a feminist dialogue on sexuality and power. These photographs are an exploration of sexuality, power, death of self, rebirth, and feminine identity through both a Victorian Era and Pictorial aesthetic. In Behind the Door, I relate my own feelings of powerlessness and despair within the suffocating confines of a failing marriage through the reference to the cultural restrictions used to control Victorian women. The photographs play with themes of binary oppositions—light versus dark, life versus death, birth and rebirth, sexuality, femininity, and identity. This identity is one that is teeming with archaic fantasies of power and vulnerability within a culturally divided, patriarchal society. What Behind the Door ultimately reveals, is that there are different kinds of strength—the strength to lead, and the strength to follow, the strength to control, and the strength to yield. There are two kinds of power—the power to strip another’s soul bare and the power to stand naked. Images of erotic female sexuality are employed as a means of navigating the fundamentals of representations of power, self, sexuality and what it means to be a woman.
About the Artist
As a teacher, artist, and forever a student, she has overcome personal obstacles of self, faith, and place. Her artwork now takes a critical view of social and cultural issues through a feminist gaze. Heavily influenced by Pre-Raphaelite artists, Pictorial Photography and Victorian society, she is interested in the historical roles of identity, beauty, femininity, submission and sexuality. Through vigorous artistic endeavors and engagements, she seeks to forge a deeper connection with the outside world, uniting dream with reality, through photographing things as she might have dreamed them. While she uses a variety of tools, materials and processes in each project, her methodology is consistent and linked to the recurring formal concerns and through the subject matter. Her work effectively combines the mediums and nuances of film, photography and painting. She utilizes digital, analog, film, wax, resin, her collection of objects and place, creating tableaus and scenes from her dreams, nightmares and journals.