Disambiguation (Detail 2)

With my work, I question taste and the use of imagery as both social capital and as a means to form and define identity. I am engrossed in the imagery of pattern and ornamentation, in the Baroque, Rococo, traditional Japanese, Islamic geometrics, as well as in particular sources such as Sevres Porcelain and the treasures of long dead Tsars. These visual forms, while predominately created by men, are usually perceived as overtly feminine, and within the art world, generally to be avoided in excess. I draw with thread on silk hoops and work on Mylar with ink, paint, marker, and mica flakes, to create complex compositions out of mined imagery from the above sources. By doing so, I engage in a type of mimicry— a phenomenon Luce Irigaray describes as “woman’s playing of the script of femininity provided by man.” I have appropriated patterns and ornamentation from the past, occasionally through the literal tracing of those forms.

Further, by combining these disparate sources of imagery, I mimic a practice that became most notable in the 17th -19th centuries, where, in an effort to substantiate their new status, the European nouveau riche created gardens, buildings, and interiors utilizing multiple generations of imagery and architecture. They sought to copy the aristocracy, and prove that they had a similar understanding of culture, and therefore were themselves cultured.  Yet to the aristocracy, these attempts were viewed as gauche, just as the Rococo, the aesthetic movement, and traditional beauty are often now viewed by the contemporary art world. Still, this peculiar practice has persisted. We continue to collect and consume items with the aim of supporting our perceived worth.  The socio- economic issues and gender politics that interweave these aesthetic tendencies make for an  endlessly fascinating study. 

Meredith Greenberg