Lauren Stratton

The female body has long been identified with the grotesque, the uncanny, as monstrous, abject, or the “other”. Within patriarchal culture myths are generated which fabricate a fear of the female. These myths promote the oppression of women and instill archaic binary archetypes upon them. This woman is then either good, or she is a monster, a witch, or a whore.

In this binary the female body then serves as a repository for cultural and mythical residue. My work examines the female body and its association to archaic tropes stereotypes, and standards of acceptable behavior, and I have constructed my own iconography. Here, rather than presenting these obsolete tropes as ubiquitous, I conflate and confuse binary archetypes of female behavior to portray the female body as one able to perform a spectrum of behaviors. These actions include ones that excretes fluids, waste, and grows body hair. My iconography consists of a set of characters, creatures and objects that perform a range of behaviors recognized in patriarchal society as good or bad, and all that falls between. I create a collective infection in my work which is a dichotomous mesh merging the crude and the wonderful, the beastly and the beautiful, and thereby subverting a culturally related set of expectations, misrepresentations, ideals and standards of acceptable female behavior.

I’m interested in the porous boundaries that stand between the inside and the outside of the literal body. My aim is to permeate these boundaries which contain female stereotypes, permeations that are similar to the way in which the body percolates its own boundaries through excreting fluids. I am to depict these binaries, stereotypes and archetypes as fluid rather than self-contained.