My work uses the language of thick oil paint to describe the visceral and fleshy qualities of neglected, discarded, and partially consumed fruit as a representation of the vulnerable and uncontrollable physicality of the human body. As a human, it can often feel that your body is an external object that is not within your control; that your physical being is prison or an enemy that is unpredictable and susceptible to outside forces of evil, deception, and disease. Rotten fruit has become a deliberate metaphor for me through linguistic research. To rot can, by definition, mean all manner of corruption. Fruit is often used in connection, spanning back to biblical times, with women, their sins, and sexuality, as well as their ability to produce life. The term fleshy is used only to describe fruit and the human body, often women’s bodies, which are deemed “soft and thick” just like the tissue of a fruit.
Incorporated into the work is the portrayal of a reductive dichotomy that considers only two genders, existing on opposite sides of a spectrum. Fruits are represented as a yonic or voluptuous form while vegetables embody the phallus. By using fruits and vegetables as a flippant metaphor, the work appropriates absurdity to diminish long-established gender roles that place worth only on the corporeal body. Women have long bore the weight of this objectification through gendered violence, reproductive subjugation, sexual violation, and dehumanization. These abuses result in women not having autonomy over their own bodies, but instead being seen as mere objects to act upon. Once these bodies are damaged, ill, rotting, or no longer capable of bearing fruit they are forgotten, discarded, and reviled. According to these patriarchal ideals, flesh that is past its prime, or overripe, is undesirable and seemingly has no place in society.
The work manifested through my own experiences with chronic pain, illness, and trauma, all of which appeared to act as a single malicious entity that threatened my physical being. It is through this experience that I began to examine and accept bodily suffering and its inevitability.