American Home takes a long look at mid-century America, a culture where men returned home from war, mass consumption and advertising proliferated, and gender roles were set in stone. Women as homemakers created an attitude of “everything is fine,” while men wore executive suits, or dripped with sweat in confronting danger. My collages use imagery from vintage materials to explore the psychology, politics, and polarities of the period.
American Home presents work from two series. In True Adventures in Better Homes, the 1950’s men’s adventure magazines (called “sweats”) collide with the cool, orderly homes depicted in women’s magazines of the same era. These rich artifacts of popular culture can be be seen as narratives from the collective psyche. I wanted to show the underbelly of anxiety in the age of McCarthyism, where danger lurked in every corner and its presence in our contemporary era.
In Fortune and the Feminine, the second series, my focus is on gender polarities. Advertisements in Fortune magazine depicted (and still do) men’s world of wealth, industry, and big ideas. Women’s magazines centered on the home with all its flowing fabrics, sensuality, and a dreamy interiority. My intention is to deconstruct these images of mid-century advertising, creating narratives of ambiguity with humor and a dark edge. The narratives explore the different relationships men and women have to power, beauty, and longing.
My interest is to create what collage does best — presenting the pulsing tension between opposites. American Home presents the borderland between interior and exterior spaces, wildness and domesticity, order and chaos, archetype and cliche, and the worlds of men and women.