Date of Award

Spring 5-2016

Author's School

Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts

Author Department/Program

Graduate School of Art

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Visual Art

Degree Type



This thesis explores performing gender fluidity as a deviant act. The conceptual impetus is to tease out ways in which comedy and beauty can be used to subvert stigma against the gender fluid community in a cultural climate where it is still dangerous to be queer. Through aestheticized, heroic and subversive imagery, I utilize drag vernacular to contextualize my own feminine performance as a gesture of power. In collaboration with gender fluid models, we create imaginary spaces as a backdrop for the outlaw act of playing with the gender binary. Within recognizable systems of gender marketing, the cult of the feminine is subverted. Often, the final product is presented as a conflation of painting, photography and performance. Shady Ladies, can be interpreted as a Midwest gender protest. By including geographic information in the titles, I mirror the widespread violence against the gender-queer community due to limitations within the binary gender system.


English (en)

Program Director

Patricia Olynyk

Program Director's Department

Graduate School of Art

Committee Member

Heather Bennett

Committee Member

Heather Bennett

Committee Member

Buzz Spector

Committee Member

Julia Walker

Committee Member

Jeffrey Uslip

Artist's Statement

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