I often find myself thinking about how I am representing women in my art, am I placing them in positions of victims or objectifying them, allowing for potential crazies to fantasize on female models in my drawings and paintings who, in some case, may seem to be inviting abuse ?
I cannot say in all honesty that I succeed in this as some of my pieces revel in the erotic representation of women and their bodies, not for the enjoyment of sick minds but because I paint what I am interested in and enjoy or feel a need to speak out on. My awareness of women and our bodies is of course quite subjective. For me, it is often a play/struggle between an aesthetic and a political sense and value. I find myself speaking on both, sometimes in the same painting.
I do not reject the technical knowledge handed down through time and mostly invented by men, no more than I do of any language I make use of in order to properly and effectively communicate with the world around me, I use it to express my personal understanding of the world from my own experiences as a woman. I do think that I impart a certain organic, feminine cognitive part of me through my art, it can be understood and felt, depending on the topic and/or subject of a given piece. My sense of what it means to be a female and a woman differs from others, my take on eroticism and how I represent human emotions and experiences are also personal even if similar in many ways to anyone else’s.
I bring with me an aesthetic very much my own, yes it is female but also born of a life in the wrong body and thus subjected to years of seeing through the world of the opposite gender and sex. My aesthetic sense, my awareness speaks to survival, to female eroticism and to the extraordinary queerness of life. I create some pieces that, in contrast to their obvious erotic content, speak of pain, and of othering, of being on the outside looking in. Being a woman of transsexual experience has permitted me to better understand oppression and prejudice, even as a woman by other women. I am conscious of myself, my sexual identity, my gender and my orientation. I am aware of communicating my hopes and fears, my joy and my anger as well as my sadness, my chaos.
If anything, my art, is a reflection of my path and I hope it has some impact, brings some pleasure and happiness but also introspection and much questioning.
New surroundings, new opportunities in Keswick
Well, we bought our new house in Keswick, Ontario because I really wish to live closer to my sister Jeanne and also because I feel my art might do somewhat better there. This is a little more complex that it may seem at first, we presently live in a small village in the Lanaudière region of Quebec called St-Alphonse-Rodriguez, some 90 minutes north east of Montreal. It’s a big move and even though we know ( my Dany and I ) it’s the right one, it’s still daunting and even a little scary at times. It means, after a half century living mostly in Quebec, we are taking on this adventure, eyes wide open, with some trepidation and lots of excitement and joy.
For me, as a queer femme-artist, this means beginning anew, putting in place a new studio space as quickly as possible as I already miss painting ( most of May without a brush ), connecting with local artists in the greater Toronto, knocking on Gallery doors to see which ones might be interested in representing my art as it isn’t exactly your garden variety type. See, I happen to create drawings and paintings that are sometimes erotic in nature or often feminist and queer friendly, which just seems to fall outside what is socially acceptable.
Mind you, I am very proud and happy to create pieces that I find important to speak out about, to put out there and incite questioning and reflection and so, I’m not regretful or being whiney, just trying to be clear and open about where I’m coming from as a woman artist. Oh, did I mention that I’m also of transsexual origin, oh well, there you go then.
I’m really hoping to meet up with other women artists, queer women and in fact pretty much any woman who thinks we could work together on projects, swap experiences, and find support. Like, where are all the cool women spaces in Toronto, what spaces might be good to show my art, who’s art should I know about in the Toronto women’s art world ? Maybe an eventual group show of women artists could be put together and help other women in need, this is certainly something I would feel honored to be part of.
Although these few lines of mine aren’t exactly filled with the kinda stuff I imagine a real, expert blog might comprise, what I’m saying here is basically that I’m coming to Ontario well grounded but also with the hope and desire of meeting new friends and contacts.
For those of you who might be curious as to what sort of art I create, then you can visit my website at: http://www.circesart.com/ , it is sometimes pretty in your face topics such as my vagina series which was inspired from Eve Ensler’s play “ The Vagina Monologues “, so please only visit if you aren’t offended by nudity.