January 29, 2021

Why Throw Your Boyfriends Playboy In The Trash When You Could Be Partying At The Mansion?

Emma Hales

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Acrylic Paint On CanvasJack Of All Trades, Master Of Fucking All of Them, 2019

This painting is a visual interaction with and response to my critique of post-feminism. Only a few decades ago, women were “burning their bras” and picketing Playboy, yet this has been replaced by breast implants and wearing the bunny logo as supposed symbols of our liberation. The Playmate aesthetic is only one avenue of sexual expression but is an example of the singular notions of female sexuality that are fed to us. If women’s ‘choice’ to conform to a singular notion of sexuality is empowerment, there is a problematic regression into limiting the value of women. Academic feminist texts underpin this piece. These are often very dense, time consuming and inaccessible. I bridge this gap by utilising universally recognisable imagery, captivating the accidental audience, as well as the intentional art audience. Using products of the patriarchy as a tool to navigate its effects, I re-stage the objectification of women, allowing the viewer to map out connections and propose new relationships in the context of gender politics. The plasticity of acrylic paint reflects the artificiality of the versions of femininity I am interested in critiquing, as well as the literal plasticity of the bodies transformed by surgery that populate my canvas.