My foundlings are largely a pursuit of aesthetics. There is a lot of art that have political themes these days but I have avoided wading into these waters. It is not that I don’t have particular views, far from it. I am very interested in politics but for me, for now, this is simply an area I have no need to explore.
That said, I had found a small brass woman’s bust about four inches tall. Very “Alphonse Mucha” in style. Any time I used it, however, it seemed too predictable and not well integrated into a work. I tried lots of combinations with completely incongruous elements, just to see if I could get these elements to “speak” to each other, when I landed on
a Victorian gutter screen that looks like a cage. I put her in the cage... all of a sudden I had a political piece. The piece became more “narrative” than merely aesthetic.
The cross band, depending on how you view the work, obscures either her eyes or mouth. I first thought of blind justice or women being trapped,.. or gagged. I realize that being a male depicting a woman in a cage can be provocative. Am I endorsing the subjugation of women (absolutely not); am I commenting on the injustice women face (sort of)? Even if this was not my original intension, a statement about how poorly women can be treated is worth repeating (and worth eradicating).
Art is not made in a vacuum. There is a context that reflects the culture in which it is created and the artist’s place in it. I don’t actively avoid making political statements but when a piece takes me in a particular direction, in this case into politics, I have learned to respect it as I respect all people, especially women.