artist statement

I believe that my responsibility as an artist is to investigate the different possibilities within an idea, and most importantly, exercise my freedom to re-evaluate history and cultural dogmas from a feminist approach.  One of the functions of my art is the illumination of feminist issues, especially that of enlightened sexism, the notion that full equality for women has allegedly been achieved. Themes throughout my work include:  feminism and the maternal, women and the culture of sacrifice, the ambiguity of fantasy and memory, and the illusion of empowerment.  

I was brought up in white, working-class, Christian community, where for generations of women, self-sacrifice has been an inescapable destiny. Within this community, women aren’t empowered by education or career; rather, it is the crucifixion of selfhood that provides an illusion of empowerment. For many women, their most virtuous attribute is an overt negligence of their own needs and desires. This sort of excessive self-denial and an inability to assert themselves except on behalf of someone else (often the husband and children) is exemplary of gender roles entrenched in the Protestantism that shaped American culture. My recent work, Holy Mackerel Sapphire Mommy, is the story of maternal love and the inherited self-sacrifice of my feminine lineage.

what do you love about the MFA program at SVA?
S VA MFA Fine Arts program has facilitated life changing experiences and relationships for me.  I will forever be appreciative and mindful of that.

graduation date: May 2013

Jessica Ucul, Juicy self portrait.