Lady J Series - 1994-1999
During this period, I was exploring how our physical interactions with objects can invite users to transgress biological norms. My “Lady J” series (1994-1999) allows women to urinate while standing. With this series I wished to suggest that even seemingly natural acts involve performative elements. Photographs documenting the use of these works resulted from the desire to see these pieces’ connection to the body, their potential for role play and to allow the viewer as voyeur to witness, from afar, the physical poetics of each piece.
Historical notes on the Lady J series (1994-1999):
Looking back at The Lady J series from a fifteen-year distance, I remember it was driven by a need and desire to be freed biologically from the constraints I felt at the time while living in New York City. The series allowed me to address this frustration poetically. As the forms developed and the accompanying photo documentation materialized, the humor and theatrical nature of the project unfolded. In the making of the Lady Js a variety of forms were evoked from tools and watering cans, to slippers and cod pieces, to bear claws and Renaissance fountains, to bodily organs from breasts to uncircumcised penises. I desired to move beyond the mechanics of male genitalia to make two and three-spouted versions. I even envisioned a nine-headed Hydra version, but felt it might get too messy when employed.
The photo documentation of the Lady Js in use resulted from the desire to see the connection to the body that these pieces suggested, and to create a theatrical moment in order for the viewer to witness, from afar, the physical poetics of each piece. I invited various female artist friends to photograph, or have me photograph, them using a Lady J in exchange for the Lady J of their choice. The range of photographical qualities and styles I received added to the dialogue and enriched the whole project. Some had flashburn , some were blurry Polaroids, others were studied still lives of body and object in black and white. Everything from pornography to formal portraiture was referenced. These artists further romanticized their relationship with the object through the photographic image; a result I hadn’t anticipated and was thrilled about.