Claremont Graduate University Student Feature: Bridget O’Reilly
Their ears were listening to God, 2012 24 x 48 in. C-print digital collage, flatface plexi mount
The two most moving pieces, in terms of aura, were Glynnis Reed's No One Else and Jessica Wimbley's Their Ears Were Listening to God. One was pulled in, required to linger and look into the pieces, further. They were beautiful in a profound way. Thoughtful and aesthetic. And I would like to know more about them. In terms of impact, Monica Sandoval's "I'm Pretty" video installation was the most "in your face," pun intended. It did not read as art to me, but as propaganda. That is not a criticism. The piece had an effect, but like an overly-pedantic Feminist statement, or a slapstick pie-in-your-face clown act. It was memorable, for sure; and the fact that the woman was being pelted with the muck of beauty products, which are listed instead of traditional art materials such as Oils or Watercolor, was inspired. (Surely it must burn the eyes, which all makeup has done to me my whole life, which is why I don't wear it. And lipstick I love, but get cracked crater lips every time. Let's try a new product that maybe will work for another fifteen dollars. Oh fuck it.) Besides the friend who, pitifully, never left the house without mascara; or the girl who couldn't let her boyfriend see her in the morning without her 'face on'--and would religiously wake up before him every day on purpose--I also heard a story when I was an adolescent that when one fasts for the a long time, the years of caked on mascara starts draining, dripping, like a Maybelline oilslick out of your eye lids.
I’m Pretty, 2013 Black Cocktail Dress; Hair Straighter, Face Foundation, Blush, Eyebrow-Definer, Lipstick, Eyelash-Curler; and a Variety of Desserts. Video Performance
The monotonous "I'm pretty" takes over the room in an obnoxious way, like in a shared hospital room when your roommate has the Soaps on all day. It blares at you, numbing you to the "Hidden Angers" message, which could be taken on many levels; and, because we can't see her face, we actually can't confirm the statement, which is also inspired, because all day long we walk around deciding if the girls we meet are pretty. The very fact that I am writing this much about this piece says volumes of course, and was no doubt the point. Women's faces are the cornerstone of all advertising (next: their bodies)--and much of the social milieu in which we Americans live--and all of this is built into the simplicity of the piece--along with the fact that it appears to need no preamble or explanation. It was somewhat nauseating, and that was probably intentional as well. We all know women, very pretty women, who have gone to great lengths and expense to fix something on their bodies cosmetically that isn't broken. And how about the catty expression "EBTF"--"everything but the face"--which they said about Sarah Jessica Parker during the run of Sex in the City?
As feminist statements go, this piece lacks originality; but if one were a Feminism neophyte, or a 12-year-old girl entirely unaware of the exploitation of women and girls worldwide throughout the millennium every second of every day ad (again, pun intended) infinitum...okay, okay, I get it. The message bears repeating. And so, keep it on loop until every last one of the women on this earth who are exploited in every manner possible are no longer.