A Question of Propriety, 2013

Lauren Anderson
PEMA Acrylic Collage
45 x 37 inches

I took this collage to an event where I asked various people (from kids to retired folks) what the images they saw were. Despite their varying and insightful suggestions, I went with the thing I had seen first—a naked woman. And then I saw the second figure. The act of painting this pieces was a liberation for me, embracing my sexuality in a direct, in your face way. I thought, here, finally, I am out and proud.

But then I had to keep turning it to the wall when I had a party kids might attend. Or when I had someone pet sit. Or when my girlfriend (now an ex) banned it because it was too much for her and also, perhaps, evoked me with someone else.

So now, the painting asks me each time I see it—what does pride in one’s own identity mean, when that identity of necessity includes parts not “socially acceptable” in “polite society”, even when that society is ok-with-the-gay?


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