Digital print on vinyl banner, polyester, and stickers.
photos: Otis Burian Hodge
The exhibition ‘Soft’ at the Corner Shop, is a body of work I have developed in response to my experience working a 9-5 job as an assistant to stockbrokers. My gender is more apparent to me in this work environment than in any other space I occupy. The exhibition explores the daily confrontation of being female in the context of a male dominated office. In particular, how in this environment the palpable divide between the role of a man and that of a woman manifests in an observable performance of gender. I adopt naive, innocent, childlike characteristics to not represent myself as a threat to certain men in the office; and I adopt an efficiency in paperwork and answering phone calls, as a way of being the ideal female assistant. I aim for this body of work to communicate and explore my own feelings and observations in navigating this environment.
I have utilised humour as a way to respond to this environment - in particular, by producing the images and text using the Microsoft Office Suite provided at work; and by using imagery that resembles characteristics of ‘girliness’ - pink, purple, stars, love hearts, butterflies and diamonds.
The work ‘Cute Success’, are dome printed stickers with the phrase Cute Success surrounded by diamonds, love hearts, and the colours pink and purple. The stickers are scattered on a blind, and on the Corner Shop glass windows, the way they would be as if a child were to decorate their room. They act as a reward for my achievements in the work environment - i.e. maintaining cuteness.
The vinyl banner piece ‘Soft’, recaptures something of my early teen hood- bedroom-wall, pink feature wall, smiley face stickers, Microsoft computer aesthetic of the 90s- a transitional period to womanhood and the first time of really feeling confronted by my gender as I entered the adult world. The vinyl banner is generally used as a medium for advertising. It suggests the work is declaring something significant - a statement - but it acts only as a humorous gesture. The text ‘soft’ is a description of my performance in the office.
Similarly with I am cute and organised which is printed on a flag, the work asks that it be read as a statement or a declaration. Yet the text and the imagery doesn’t call for any seriousness. It only represents my existence and performance in the office space.