"Cactus, flower, f%#k-off, love, roses" is an umbrella project consisting of a suite of works exploring female identity beyond the biological. The project includes a series of drawings plus video ("Flower Girls", "Flower Women"). The title comes from “tags” listed on the website Goodreads, for the quote “Roses may say “I love you,” but the cactus says “Fuck-off”, by J. Kintz.
"Cactus, flower, f%#k-off, love, roses" was activated by the convergence of multiple events: my daughter’s 13th birthday, and the coming out of her elder sibling as transgender female. Both enter puberty, one for the second time. I watch both of my daughters evolve, exploring what it means to be female. What makes a woman? In Simone De Beauvoir’s writings for The Second Sex, she penned "One is not born a woman: one becomes a woman". De Beauvoir notes the difference between being female and being a woman – the latter is learned.
A key component of the work resides with the symbolic connection between flowers and women. Flowers have been a symbol for femininity and womanhood since ancient times. “Flower Girls” explores the transition to womanhood from girlhood, and in its absence. Painted flower props embody elements of identity lost, desired, or claimed. In “Flower Women”, participants choose a flower they respond to, and communicate its essence, using only their bodies to emote. The video piece "Flower Women" includes the participation of 30 (and counting) women, and is inclusive (anyone identifying as female is invited to participate).
"ME NOT" video and drawings at the San Diego Art Institute
"Flower Women," "ME NOT," videos plus drawings, group show "Gender," Central Michigan University Gallery,
Solo exhibition "ME NOT" at Rymer Gallery Nashville, "Flower Women," "ME NOT," and 30 drawings, plus community outreach performance event BYOC (Bring Your Own Cactus).
Below are samples of the videos.
To view the drawings check out Cactus, flower, fuck-off, love, roses drawings