In 18th century France, the morning ritual of dressing and applying makeup was called The Toilette, an occasion of great social significance for both men and women. Visitors and close friends were invited to discuss matters of business, politics, or simply gossip- all while watching their host being prepared for public viewing. This performance could be seen as either an act of submission or an act of rebellion. While society wanted to mold the person into one ideal, with each layer--powdered wigs, corsets, beauty patches--individuals asserted their own sense of agency by redesigning themselves into who they wanted to be.
For this body of work I aim to explore the armor we dress in and the ways we dress and adorn ourselves everyday. I examine contemporary socially constructed notions of identity by invoking the female gaze and drawing from the Rococo aesthetic. The Female Gaze, was coined by Jill Soloway in response to Laura Mulvey’s theorization of “the Male Gaze,” where cinematic depictions of women are seen as the objects of male pleasure, thus the Female Gaze is an alternative way of seeing; a way of looking/representing that seeks to give everyone agency and make everyone a subject. Rococo art was created in reaction to boredom with the austere baroque style, and instead opted to depict humor, wit, emotion, and whimsy. Characterized by its light heartedness, the Rococo presents itself at a more intimate scale, often in private spaces. My goal for this work is to create a utopic space that blurs the barriers between the private and public, subject and object, and self and other.