A large fraction of my feminist practice revolves around equality in sex. For that purpose pornography and erotica play an integral role in how people begin to learn and identify with their sexualities. In this regard, I create traditional highly satirical oil paint compositions on panel that depict erotic images of women in legal pornography of my design. Each element of the scenery, costume design, and legal pornography I produce is based on the experiences the model has shared with me following a conducted interview. The resulting compositions are extremely ironic to spotlight the ridiculous and humorous beliefs surrounding women’s sexuality previously believed by western society. Despite the negative connotations associated with it, I choose to work with and produce my own pornography because of the overt eroticism and comedy present in the genre’s actions as well as the outdated views on women’s sexuality. This enables me to give the women I portray sexual control over their bodies and to build a community of women who can share their stories and laugh at the ridiculous views that western society once held about women. This cause and effect in greater context have me conscious that my work can be interpreted with my contemporaries in the field of figuration, as a derivative of feminism’s historical significance in painting. However, while figuration, the female nude, and the human body are recurring concepts within painting’s historical significance I need to point out that sexuality and a person’s sexual identity doesn’t exist in a vacuum.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Savannah, Georgia based activist figurative painter Mattie Sterling was born in Charleston, South Carolina. Thereafter, Sterling’s predisposition to give rise to a matter before the usual or proper time is an attribute that has followed into her feminist practice. Sterling currently has a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Painting from the Savannah College of Art and Design and has aspirations of obtaining advanced academic degrees.
Sterling is a feminist, activist, writer, critic, and painter who has devoted her lives work to advocating for equality between the sexes. In consequence, Sterling employs her lifestyle and artistic practice to oppose heterosexist tyranny and the traditions of hierarchy over the civil and identity politics of women, women’s empowerment, and women’s sexuality in favor of a positive social change.
Sterling has spent the past two years engaging in open-studio exhibitions, written criticism around Feminist art practice, and partaken in discussions about beliefs behind sexuality, sex positivity, and the “hypocrisy that subvert it”. The female figure and the emancipation of women’s sexuality and sexual authority over their bodies have continued to be an area of provenance behind Sterling’s paintings. In her most recent body of work, Sterling employs the sexual capital experienced behind her models to address the questionable beliefs behind women’s sexuality and the social dogma that surrounds it.
© Mattie Sterling