Nurse, oil on canvas, 24 x 18"
A good joke combines a surprising punch line with elements of truth. I want this work to function in a similar way, with unexpected visual elements that use humor to talk about serious issues. The self-portrait series Indecision focuses on the complexity of emotion surrounding the decision to become a mother or not. On the one hand this work is political, entering into feminist debates about desire, the body, social construction, and the hegemonic ideology of motherhood. On the other hand it is sharply personal, expressing my deep anxiety and ambivalence over my own life decisions. Do I want to be a mother? Will I be able to be a mother? Will I be able to not be a mother? To me, what makes this work funny is that it exaggerates comically contradictory impulses towards and against motherhood, tapping into a common reality for many women today. In a broader sense, I hope it also speaks more universally about the struggle to create a cohesive identity in a culture that presents conflicting, sometimes bizarre expectations.
Jessica Plattner, 2006
Firehouse Gallery at Rogue Community College, Grant's Pass, OR
Conflicting Expectations, EWU Art Gallery at Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA
From the Inside Out: Feminist Art Then and Now, University Gallery, St. John’s University, New York, NY. Curator: Claudia Sbrissa (catalogue)
Nervous Laughter (5-person show), phd gallery, St. Louis, MO. Curator: Leslie Holt