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Vivian Liddell

Artist Statement Submitted 2020

These works are from my "Men" series— the title is a nod to Willem de Kooning’s "Women."

As a mother of boys, I want to participate in a critical dialogue that explores gender and the construct of masculinity (particularly as they apply to the working class and rural South) and the use of rural/working class signifiers by those who are in power.

I see the mixed-media works as implicating women in this construction—using pants mended for my sons and partner, I’m looking at how I’ve taken on traditional female roles. Patterns, colors and notions that were once considered feminine become part of the male figure or are present in his surrounding domestic environment—referencing the work and preferences of unseen women.

I’m not interested in returning the male gaze, objectifying the male figures as sex objects, or in viewing myself in the male figures. I am interested in reversing the traditional power dynamic between the male artist/intellectual and his female muse/subject.

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