Taking A Contemporary Stand Against Age-Old Improprieties
The show was the culmination of an artist-in-residency program at the Neon Museum in Las Vegas, NV.
Whitney studied Old Master and Post-Impressionist paintings and did a series of drawings that are the renderings for a neon sign that depicts a disparaging role for women. Whitney is highlighting the disparaging depiction of women in these paintings which is overlooked because of the masterful skill of art form on display. These works have become a part of the art historical canon.
Of her work, Whitney has said, “It was looking at those narratives that limit women’s power through their sexuality and positioning women as you know, the temptress or femme fatale and then also how easy it is to gloss over those narratives when they’re depicted in these lush oil paintings.”
Included in the exhibition were renderings of “Eve” by Michelangelo, “Delilah” by Rubens and “Lot’s Daughters” by Cezanne.
Taking a contemporary orientation, these works, or the artists who made them, would not pass muster in our #MeToo era.
Whitney added, “Translating those paintings into these crude drawings that ultimately would be conveyed in neon, then all of a sudden, it swings the narrative that is highlighted, you know, there’s these different kinds of questions, but it’s also these poles of extremes. One where a woman is limited by her sexuality and it puts her in a position of being suspect, to a complete objectification. And then I think, being in Las Vegas, seeing these signs, whether it’s strip clubs or celebrities that are coming to town highlights that other problem of when a woman’s sexuality becomes the only thing that they are.”
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