Artists Who Work With Gender – Part One.

I’m exceedingly interested in Gender Identity and I am already considering / developing ideas in that area for my Project Brief on ‘Beautiful and Useable’. I find artists who work with gender/genitalia/gender identity really fascinating and I have started to broaden my research, to develop ideas, to gain further knowledge and see just how far I can take this project.

Below are some of the artists that I have currently discovered and have been looking at.

Sarah Lucas

genitalia impression - sarah lucas Sarah-Lucus-Au-Naturel
Au Naturel 1994 Mattress, water bucket, melons, oranges and cucumber 84 x 168 x 145 cm

I thought this piece was humorous, it’s so simple but still visually speaks to me. Using fruit and a bucket, Sarah manages to visually portray each set of gender’s genitalia, without it seeming too rude, or detailed.

Quite frankly, I think the simplicity of this piece is what I love the most about it. There is so much you can do to create pieces that speak to people, that often require a tedious journey to get to a final outcome, and this Installation seems very straightforward. I would have loved to off seen the thought process and contextualisation behind this outcome, just to see what Sarah was thinking and feeling at the time this piece was made. Not only that but to see what artists and objects inspired and influenced her work.

The materials are found / or owned objects, such as the mattress.

02d93e08-198c-4407-9db0-2d64926d94ff-2060x1236 59a2df40-edf9-412a-a729-183e0ca6810f-2060x1375

Sarah Lucas installation British Pavilion at the 56th International Art Exhibition at the Biennale in Venice

These pieces are quite interesting, because there is only the lower body, with no upper torso or anything else, so the bodies are incomplete. By studying these pieces, I’d say the materials used were stuffed tights, plaster, cigarettes and wood. I thought it was a little obscure that the cigarette was the penis but also found it amusing at the same time.

I’m really inspired by Sarah’s work, it’s quirky, different and eye-catching. No piece is the same, they all have different personalities and meanings. Her work features a lot to do with gender, something I am passionate about to continue in my own practise.

I was also reading the small article that is linked above and took this small description and quote from it.

“Sarah Lucas’s works for the British Pavilion reprise and reinvent the themes that have come to define her powerfully irreverent art – gender, death, sex, and the innuendo residing in everyday objects. Throughout this latest group of works, the body – sexual, comedic, majestic – remains a crucial point of return, while Lucas’s work continues to confront big themes with a distinctive wit.

‘Humour is about negotiating the contradictions thrown up by convention. To a certain extent humour and seriousness are interchangeable. Otherwise it wouldn’t be funny. Or devastating.’ – Sarah Lucas”.

penetralia - sarah lucas

Sarah Lucas: Penetralia
November 18 – December 23, 2010

The materials used for these collective pieces were: White plaster casts of erect penises and craggy blades of flint held aloft on roughly chopped blocks of wood by bendy wire supports.

I discovered the materials through the second link above, which was another interesting article on Sarah Lucas discussing her interest in the sexual relationship between men and women, gender, objects etc.

I thought these were brilliant, as the detail is so accurate. They also relate to what I have been doing in my current workshop, as I have been making 3D reliefs using clay and plaster… But no, they were not off giant penises, I can assure you!

Lot 123
Sarah Lucas
B. 1962
‘Get Off Your Horse And Drink Your Milk’
four cibachrome prints laid down on board.
each: 122 x 122cm; 48 by 48inc.
Executed in 1995, this work is unique.

Out of all off Sarah’s work, I would say this one is the most ‘graphic’, as there is a male model, holding a milk bottle by his genitalia and there are also biscuits resting down there.

These were turned into prints, which would have been interesting to see in real life. I am not sure I would have bought one, but it would have been interesting to see how different the pieces look from a photograph to the real thing.

Sarah’s work has inspired me because it’s shown me that there are multiple and vast ways to create and develop art that speak out about gender related issues. There is no one way to made a piece about that topic and that really excites me, because it’s taught me that my possibilities and ideas for my own project can be limitless, so long as it stays within my grading criteria.



Author: lawrenceaaronmaker

Studying a BA Hons in Artist, Designer; Maker at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

One thought on “Artists Who Work With Gender – Part One.”

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