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White Boob / Black Boob

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Some of the work I have developed this year, ‘White Boob / Black Boob’, ‘Yellow Boob / Brown Boob’ and ‘Red Boob / Tan Boob’, along with the ‘doodle board’, is the manifestation of my interest in and continuing research into sex, sexuality, ethnicity, colour stereotypes and signifiers and religion. The Boob works are exhibited in groups of thirty-three, each boob duo joined ‘back to back’, and framed by a different lace edging, the patterns of which come from an old Semco (1) pattern booklet, creating a type of double sided cameo.

The Boob has literal, metaphorical and spiritual significance. The word Boob is literally a slang term for the two soft fleshy milk-secreting glandular organs on the chest of a woman, the breasts. Boob is also used as a name for an ignorant or foolish person and can mean to commit a faux pas or a fault or make a serious mistake (2). The television is sometimes referred to as the boob tube; the implication being that television programming is foolish, induces foolishness, or is watched by foolish people (3) (and is also, incidentally, a forum where a lot of literal and metaphorical boobs can be seen). Boob tube also refers to an item of clothing worn by women, a shoulder-less, armless, strapless garment, which is kept in place by being elasticated therefore making it particularly figure hugging around the breasts.

St Agatha of Sicily is one of the most highly venerated virgin martyrs of Christian antiquity. She dedicated her life to God and resisted men who wanted to marry her or have sex with her. Senator Quintianus persecuted St Agatha. He sought revenge on her after his professions of his love for her were continuously spurned. She was sent to a brothel, a prison and finally tortured as punishment for her unrelenting Christian faith. Because one of the tortures she supposedly suffered was to have her breasts cut off, she was often depicted carrying her breasts on a plate. It is thought that blessing of the bread that takes place on her feast may have come from the mistaken notion that she was carrying loaves of bread (4). The Boob series have been described as looking like tasty ‘tit-bit’ treats to eat.

Hal Foster refers to the theory of Jean Laplanche in discussion of the representation of the breast in art. Laplanche developed the notion that all primal fantasies are “enigmatic signifiers” concerning the (Freudian) fundamental questions of our existence (these questions being “where do I come from?” “which sex am I?” and “what is this strange stirring within me?”). The quintessential enigmatic signifier according to Laplanche, is the maternal breast, which the infant sees as a separate entity, an identity, as an other, central to the formation of the self. (5)

Words, together with the objects they refer to and name, continue to be an integral part of my art practice. My intention is that my work in conjunction with seemingly simple titles opens up a multiplicity of meanings and interpretations. Alongside multifarious theoretical and conceptual concerns are the processes of making integral to and informing my work. This has and continues to be a process commenting on and referring to obsession, and its’ role in domestic and ecclesiastic ritual. ‘…the idea of participating in bogus rituals is bound up in the process…[I]…employ, which involves almost mechanical repetition. The point is that the ritual is, in a sense, meaningless, a charade. [By] mixing ritual with obsession, …[I] question the extent to which rituals are taken seriously or construed as profound’. (6)

 (1)(author not listed). Crochet Edges by Semco. Book No. 3. Blackrock Vic. Semco Art Needlework. (no date).
 (2) "boob." Word Net® 2.0. Princeton University. 04 Aug. 2006. Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=boob&x=17&y=15>
 (3) "boob tube." Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.0.1). Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006. 04 Aug. 2006. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=boob tube&x=0&y=0>
 (4) “Saint Agatha”. Catholic Online. 07 Aug 06. <http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=14>
 (5) Foster, H. “A Missing Part” in Prosthetic Gods. An Octorber Book, The MIT Press Cambridge, Massachsetts, London, England (2004):  308
 (6) Hanfling, E. “Threading a Fine Twine: A Critical Response to the Art of Megan Hansen-Knarhoi”. Art New Zealand Number 120 / Spring (2006): 75.

White Boob / Black Boob
Installation
Mary Newton Gallery
Link to Exhibition Page @ Mary Newton Gallery


White Boob / Black Boob
Installation
Mary Newton Gallery
Link to Exhibition Page @ Mary Newton Gallery


White Boob / Black Boob
Installation
Mary Newton Gallery
Link to Exhibition Page @ Mary Newton Gallery


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