Let’s talk about the intimacy of your work and the intimate experience for the viewer. Can you speak to that? The relationships between your production, your thoughtful display, and the audience—
For me, it comes down to this idea of looking and being seen. I’m a voyeur. I’ve chosen to look deeply as part of my practice.
For most of my life since I was a teenager, I have been looking at things you are not supposed to look at. I remember the first photographs I took were in high school photography class and I made prints of a woman’s legs stretched horizontally across the paper. The obviously unshaven, female legs unsettled everybody in school, including my photo teacher. I like to think that it disrupted gender rigidity in some small way in 1979.
The idea of looking and being seen is so fundamental to our binary gender systems. I’m thinking of some ideas that really opened my eyes in college like Laura Mulvey’s essay “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” or philosopher Marilyn Frye talking about the male gaze and the lesbian gaze. Her metaphor is: women are acting on stage and men are viewing the women on stage. The queers are backstage taking in everything from a different perspective. I like to share this perspective, from backstage.