Playpen, pictured below is from an exhibition titled Women's Images Of Men 04. Along with 8 other female artists we created work based on our ideas, thoughts, experiences of men. The idea was NOT to humilate men, but to embrace a rare opportunity for women to work collaboratively together, to have their own dialogue and to address social and political issues that were of concern personally. The inspiration for the exhibition was drawn from the 1980 the exhibition Womens Images of Men held at the ICA. The 1980 exhibition invited close-minded critism from an art atmosphere of taboo, censorship, male dominance and limited perception for female artists. Prior to our exhibition I met with Jacqueline Morreau, (one of the original artists) and discussed the evolution of the objectification of the "male", how females artists are percieved today and how our representation of the male figure has changed.
In our show artists tended to create work that shared a memory or a story relating to thier husband, brother, son etc.
For my piece I made a Playpen which connects the very softness and feminine quality of crafts along with the idea of nurturing in the composition of the soft sculptures within the Playpen. This is in contrast with the masculinity that emerges through the iconography - the dartboard, golf bag, sky sports on the T.V screen - replicas of my husband or sons "toys" made out of felt material and then embriodered. The small installation is based on the idea that a mans home is his castle but inside it's still a playroom. Playpen explored issues of depencdency, nurturing, mothering and supportiveness. The small sculptured recreations played tunes, had rattles and bells in them to add to the connotation of toys. Viewers were invited to crawl inside the Castle playpen and interact with the "toys" or observe from the outside.