Looking for Venus

‘Looking for Venus’ is one in a series of work started in the early 2000s that explore an individual experience of a body and femininity that do not conform to a contemporary Western ideal-or modern Venus.

Conceptally and visually there are many similarities in my responses to the seemingly disparate themes of landscape and feminism, and I am exploring bringing these together to create a narrative around the pressure on women to conceal their ‘natural’ selves and signs of ageing.

No Place Like Home

The fifties is an important decade for understanding the social history of women as the influence of the period remains in much of twenty-first century life, from mass consumerism and advertising, to the constant media examination of the role of women.

This series has been inspired by the contrasting messages from second world war posters, which encouraged women to adopt strong roles and jobs traditionally associated with men, to fifties advertising persuading women back into the feminine safety of the home, family and gleaming perfection. This was only achievable according to advertisers, of course, by purchasing the latest labour saving devices or wearing the newest fashions, but above all by putting the needs of your husband and children first. However, the reality behind this projected veneer of harmony and perfect family life was that many women missed the camaraderie and independence afforded them in the nation’s war effort.

In each of the images the kitchen utensils have been individually photographed and digitally  ‘cut out’, whilst the other elements have been manipulated from fifties advertisements and magazine articles. The text has also been ‘borrowed’ from period sources and re-used to create a new context.