If you follow my work at all, you will have noticed that FlowerEyes as a motif has been reoccurring a lot recently. So this post is for anyone curious about the where the FlowerEye came from and the thought behind it. An origin story, as it were.
Especially now that my work is available to buy online, in a space which is not necessarily as conceptually engaged as a gallery setting might be, it's important to me that the work does not become completely disengaged from the idea behind it.
So here we go:
The FlowerEyes first emerged while I was brainstorming new work for school. I was thinking about how my life has been impacted by the fact that I am female. More specifically, my experiences and relationship with the feminine, and the concept of the male gaze. The flower as a symbol of femininity kept re-surfacing and I began to work with it in conjunction with the eye to represent the gaze. The idea being that the state of being a woman is forever tied to this notion of 'appearance'.
The male gaze is insidious: it permeates all forms of media, to the point that women’s gaze has been usurped and we have practically forgotten how to look at ourselves as anything but a sexual object.
"To be feminine, in one commonly felt definition, is to be attractive, or to do one's best to be attractive; to attract." (Susan Sontag, 'On Photography')
And so I use the motif of the FlowerEye as a reminder of sorts, I suppose. So that I never forget that the feminine is associated with a certain degree of surveillance -- and as a reminder to take a step back from the default male gaze to reclaim my own way of seeing.
What's fun about using the FlowerEyes as a motif in patterns and on products is that I see it as a kind of short-hand for saying, "I am more than my appearance," and even further still, literally turns it around to look back at the viewer. And so the object of the gaze becomes the one doing the looking. Almost as a way of saying, "I see you too."
In any case, rest assured: you have not seen the last of the FlowerEyes.