Curiosity gives us vitality, allowing us to stretch and grow. Sculpting in clay is my vehicle for challenging existing and historic cultural assumptions. The richness and versatility of the medium allow me to carve details throughout my work, layering symbols, stories and thought-provoking questions. I started sculpting as a teenager, spent years working in the male dominated world of bank management from 1985 until 2003 before returning to art full time. My work tells personal stories, often with humor, and aspires to engage others in conversations about identity and choices.
In 1869, John Stuart Mill and his wife Harriet developed the ideas presented in The Subjection of Women. One argument in this text is that women have been coaxed, cajoled and pressured to be so many different things to different people, that women have become unknowable. Because of my personal experience in the corporate world, this resonates. Women proved themselves supremely capable in various jobs during World War II only to find themselves back in the kitchen at the end of the war. Since the 1950s, a scantily clad woman dressed in rabbit ears has been an iconic image of sensual desire. Appliances and gadgets made in the 1950s were sold using advertisements with gleeful women appearing completely fulfilled serving others. These ads always seemed ridiculous to me. During my time in banking, I was a loan officer, branch manager and then a senior division manager. When I was successful, my male peers joked it was only because I shortened my skirt. If I wanted to be part of decision making, I had to smoke cigars, drink Scotch and hang out on the golf course where the real decisions were made. In those days, taking time off to attend a parent-teacher conference was unthinkable. Looking back at earlier generations, I’m grateful for the opportunity to pursue a career even with the many internal conflicts it creates but believe change is crucial if our society is to grow. I hope my work will open a dialogue about what it means to be feminine, the roles women choose to accept along with the consequences of those roles and lead to future generations of women having more choices and less internal conflict about identity.