Brassy: an exhibition.
Brassy: an exhibition, is an exhibition catalog for an exhibit that does not exist.
This project is an exploration of what it means to define womanhood—both in general terms and more specifically, for me as an individual. Through the lenses of ingredients (the origins of a definition), digestion (navigating the reality of womanhood), and complexity (moving beyond cookie cutter definitions), I unpack the traditional narrative about what it means to be a woman here and now. Assembled like an index of pieces on display, to create the catalog I collected and photographed artifacts from my life, designed posters and illustrations, and sourced or wrote essays, lyrics, and quotes, to tell my story. Both a study in layout and storytelling, this project is also a social critique.
An exhibition catalog is a visual record for visitors, telling them what is on display and reminding them of what they have seen or missed. It operates as a checklist, souvenir, and memory simultaneously. Similarly, while Brassy may not be a real exhibit, women live their lives on display every day. We are stared at, judged on our appearance, and valued for how others perceive us. In many ways, we are not so different from a painting in a gallery or a caption in a catalog.
The complete book can be viewed at brassyexhibition.com.
Brassy and selected other works including the video Define Normal, were shown as part of the 2017 Post-Baccalaureate Commencement Exhibition, In Transit, at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. I designed and installed the Brassy exhibit as well as co-designed the Commencement Exhibition branding in collaboration with Sarah Gillund. In Transit was on display July 28 – August 13, 2017.
I wanted to create a piece that normalized the female body and encouraged women to rewrite society's pre-packaged narrative about what is acceptable, beautiful, and normal. To convey the fact that this struggle has been a multi-generational and a deeply personal fight for women, I made a point to film myself and paired that with found footage and stock imagery from previous decades.
While no one video can immediately change the lens through which we view our bodies, I hope this can be a catalyst for conversations or at least provide some entertaining information.