Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Visual Art
My work in video, installation, performance, sound, and photography is influenced and inspired by my experience of being a woman. In my work, I draw pink flowers and create pink backdrops. I smash things, eat, drink, drop things, smile, nod, and look at you. Through these works, I explore the gender performativity of female niceness, synthesizing these two separate theories as a social condition and expectation for women. I argue that female niceness consists of bodily and linguistic patterns that women must perform in order to be perceived as feminine.
In my video and installation work, I use a “sickeningly” sweet aesthetic to speak to this social phenomenon using the language that has been thrown upon women: flowers, patterns, and an overload of pink. Diver deeper into the cultural mythology of the color, my work connotes the negative associations with pink. My work battles with these assumptions, showing that the color is analogous with not taking women’s concerns seriously.
My moving images and installations demonstrate tension in response to this dynamic through uncomfortable moments in pink. In one video, I try to smash a pink harmonica with a milkshake glass, it never breaks. In another, the pink shot glass bounces and never shatters. Inspired by the films and TV shows made by men exposed or discussed during the #metoo movement as a cultural focal point, I demonstrate the pervasiveness of the expectation of female niceness – and how this expectation is linked to harassment and other gendered injustices. Despite anger and frustration, this culture cannot change as a result of women’s anger alone. Thus, my work as an artist is predicated on this dilemma.
Program Director's Department
Graduate School of Art
Yocom, Taylor Elizabeth, "It's pink and nice but we are done with it" (2018). Graduate School of Art Theses. ETD 110. https://doi.org/10.7936/K7C53K9K.