Klaire A. Lockheart
Flipping the binary doesn’t solve all the problems of the objectification of women in art, but it does provide an entertaining start. I use humor to inspire viewers to consider that passive representations of women for the heteronormative male gaze are neither natural nor universal. In response to the abundance of dehumanizing imagery I am expected to appreciate for art’s sake, I invented the brodalisque. These oil paintings feature masculine men who recreate the poses and passivity of historical odalisques. Western orientalist painters typically portrayed odalisques within the harem, a place where unrelated men were not allowed. To update the trope of creating a “realistic” painting in a prohibited space, I place my subjects within the hidden mysteries of what is known as the man cave. I render these forbidden environments representationally to persuade the viewers that these compositions are factual and not at all fictitious. If the original odalisque paintings that I reference really truly are about form and aesthetics, not sex and ownership, then these paintings are completely serious and not remotely silly.