Each of these pieces is from a larger series of work, “Factory”, which explores the ways that womxn visually assemble their bodies in order to perform their gender and meet specific gendered ideals. I am interested in how these three pieces also relate to boundaries – specifically as they relate to expectations of female behavior. In “No,” I present a space where more than one part of the body is gesturing in a manner that denies consent. The repetitive loop references the need to consistently affirm personal boundaries as well as consistent trespassing of those boundaries. In “Smile,” I meditate on the familiar experience of being told to smile by male strangers. I also made this piece at the beginning of the pandemic and intended to use the multiple figures as a means to cheer myself on to smile in spite of difficulty. Finally “Insulated” presents a figure that is adorned in protective hair and fur. The consequence of the bulky defense requires fanning and cooling. My interest in boundaries relate specifically to how womxn’s bodies are managed and how to reclaim bodily autonomy.
About the Artist
Rebecca Drolen (b. 1983) is an artist, educator, and independent curator working in Arkansas. Her photographs are concerned with how individuals visually assemble their identity – and she is particularly preoccupied with hair. Her work balances built spaces, assemblage and performance, but the end result is persistently photographic.
Drolen’s work has been shown in group and solo exhibitions on a national and international level, within noteworthy venues such as the Huffington Post, Oxford American’s “Eyes on the South,” the Light Factory, the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Texas Tech University, The Oklahoma State Museum of Art, the CICA Museum in Gimpo, Korea, and the Theory of Clouds Gallery in Kobe, Japan. Drolen has had work published in various art magazines and blogs and has photographs held in private collections as well as the permanent collection at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Drolen received her MFA in Photography in 2009 from Indiana University. She is an Assistant Professor of and co-Area Head of Photography at the University of Arkansas.
© Rebecca Drolen