Looking at a Naked Man (installation detail), 2020, photo credit Eddie Ing
The inherent mystery of others’ interiority, and the tension between a desire to connect and a discomfort in social situations, make the human figure an endlessly captivating subject for my sculpture, video, and installations. My work is rooted in figuration as a way to try to understand and connect with others, and is informed by contemporary art criticism and social theory about the gaze as a way to call out dynamics and politics that complicate the act of looking. Broadly speaking, addressing the gaze allows me to reflect on my relationships to others and consider what those dynamics can reveal about how we understand ourselves and others.
My site-sensitive, immersive installations engage viewers as both voyeur and subject; it is common for mirrors, video feeds, or openings cut through walls to implicate viewers into the work in a visually explicit way, conflating the roles of actor and audience to disrupt the illusion of an omnipotent one-sided gaze and highlight the fact that we (humans) move through the world as both subject and object.
My most recent work uses sculpture, video, and photography to represent the male body in attempt to create an alternative to the patriarchal gaze. I am exhausted by the inward, self-reflexive gaze that the patriarchal gaze has ingrained in me, and have decided to directly empower my own gaze, regardless of the taboos that are associated with a woman unabashedly staring at a naked man. I create images and objects that reflect my outward gaze—i.e., that which I desire, am curious about, and have empathy for, which happens to include the male body. Part of my agenda to push against culturally imposed limitations on gender also includes inserting a more complex humanity into my images, countering centuries of images of men (created by men) that depict the male body as a caricatured representation of power, strength, and heroism. I search for images that blend beauty and strength with vulnerability and awkwardness to convey how complicated and compelling people really are. Rather than simply reversing the male gaze—imitating the way men have depicted women—I am searching for representations that are conscientious rather than exploitative.