Tweedledee and Tweedledon’t (2018)
30 x 44 in. | $2,000
Cleaning is generally looked down upon as a lesser profession, relegated to those who were unsuccessful in securing a more meaningful job. For me, housekeeping offers steady work without requiring an output of emotional or creative labor, which I can then reserve for my studio practice. The physical nature of the work and its necessary attention to detail align with that which I most enjoy in art making. My current body of work, “Keeping House,” connects my experience as a low wage female laborer to the larger concept of the gendered work in America.
Housekeeping is often romanticized as a sacrificial act of femaleness. Cleaning is rarely respected as an end unto itself, despite the fact that it is an indispensable element of the American economy. It is only when the trash is overflowing that one wonders who is tasked with taking it out, and the one million Americans who work as housekeepers are largely invisible.
Figurative works in “Keeping House” feature a character modeled after myself called the Mad Maid. She acts as a stand-in for all perceived female workers who are deemed lesser than, and demonstrates an exaggerated emotional response to her inequality. The maid appears in various forms, sometimes with a confrontational stare, other times quietly sweeping up toxic truth. The curves of her figure emphasize the intimate and charged nature of cleaning up what others have left behind. Expectations of how she navigates a male dominated world are explored in works on paper, installations and sculpture. Intense patterning reflects the repetitive and physical nature of manual labor and the ubiquity of the gender hierarchy. Throughout the series, scale, iteration, saturated colors and reflective materials seek to make hypervisible this normally unseen laborer.
© Veronica Ceci