In terms of my research paper on the nature of the gaze, it's possible to read this piece from many different perspectives. The simple gaze would read what it sees in terms of form, shape and materiality. The optical gaze reconstructs what's truly lines, colour and tone on paper and two disparate faces split across different timelines into intact facial parts. The images are rooted firmly in the patriarchal gaze, where the stereotypical notion of ideal woman is as of passive perfection. If viewed from a feminine perspective, what my gaze desires is the image of woman as perfection to identify with and aspire to. Whereas, from a masculine point of view I desire reassurance from the image; re-enforcement of self through possessing the womanly perfection before me.

Thus, it's possible to argue that a piece like In the Shadow of her gaze n.02 reinforces gender stereotypes; what I see reassures me that it conforms to its rules. However, all is not quite as it seems. The images selected are not passive but, rather, offer a glipse of resistence in terms of a glint of defiance in the eyes, or a challenge in the angle of head or neck. Collaging leaves nothing it touches intact -- no perfectly entire facial whole is proffered. In their placement, the pictures and metal rods further interrupt each other, accreting, jostling, and obscuring in a manner that is somewhat aggressive.


One could say this piece uses strategic mimicry to evade the rules of hierarchy and stereotype. Strategic mimicry offers one means of escape whereby woman is no longer the victim of mime but becomes its subversive instance, co-opting masculine discourse to repeat it with the intention of disrupting it, reinvesting its power in its replacement: the feminine.(1)

This piece varies every time it is installed in reaction both to its new location and the emotions brought to bear as it's assembled. Dimensions vary but are a minimum of 3 x 1.5 x 1 metres (H.W.D.)

Each of the collages in this piece is unique -- see the slideshow, right, for details of each. Materials for the whole installation: c-type Fuji archival prints, Somerset book white paper, Kitakata paper, Khadi Tsasho paper, Khadi J3 Bamboo paper, dibond aluminium composite, steel.

(1) Catherine Malabou, Changing Difference, trans. Carolyn Shread, (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2011 [Changer de difference, France?: Editions Galilée, 2009]), p. 123 & p. 126.