The ongoing series The Labor of Her Body // The Work of Her Hands explores the philosophy of work and examines the difference between task and labor. I am looking at this in a literal sense (images of sheep shearers) as well as through a more abstract, often feminist lens. I explore the universality of repetitive task through image repetition and mirror images making the composition an abstracted reflection of the theme. Identically uniformed, worker’s hands move in sync, producing consistent, precise outcomes. In some cases, through color and shape, I evoke the female sensibility as applied to manual labor and traditionally masculine industries. Whether shearing sheep, breaking down duck or marching into war, uniformity is essential. Although the success of a worker's effort is defined by its precision and invariability, the spirit and desires of the worker remains unique.
I see my native Bay Area strung between the ubiquitous technology sector and a revived interest in handwork. In the future, might “work” be performed only by machines while humans perform “labor” as a form of leisure? Will craftsmanship be valued only for its aesthetic qualities and not for its usefulness? These are questions that I want my work to ask and for the viewer to engage in answering.
This selection of paintings also focuses on my growing awareness of the silent, unacknowledged, often incidental work that I’ve experienced and also witnessed the women in my life do, constantly. There is a female sense of urgency, of responsibility, of bondage that insists we maintain momentum and forward pressure no matter the context. There is no name for it, small concrete evidence of it. However, there is joy, ease, playfulness and efficiency that comes from women working together. By fostering instead of suppressing these instinctual approaches, in every facet of life, we can begin to rebuild the social construct that is currently bisected by a gender-normative chasm.
I use my painting as a way to realize the creative potential of the unconscious mind. My drawings act as a filter between my eye and my subconscious, bridging the gap between what I take in visually and what I later put down on the canvas. I simplify shape and form in an attempt for the viewer to, on one level, acknowledge the subject or idea that I am exploring but on another level the simplification adds importance to composition, plane, color and mood.
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Isis is influenced by the wind and the salt and the craggy shores of her native Northern California coast, while being inspired too by the urban angles of the cities in which she has lived. Isis studied visual arts and creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College, NY and printmaking at Fondazione Il Bisonte in Florence, Italy.