Lather Rinse Repeat: Work by Sara di Donato
Gallery Talk: Wednesday, January 22 | 11:30am-12:30pm
Sara di Donato explores ideas about the shifting, fluid nature of feminine identity, and conversely, its constraints and boundaries. The image of the contortionist, when linked with the construct of “girlhood”, provides a way of thinking about gender flexibility while simultaneously evoking themes of constraint and adherence to cultural norms.
Girlhood is a space of otherness that is neither here nor there, and exists as both a physical and mental state. The girl, on the threshold between childhood and womanhood, occupies a liminal space of identity-in-process, focused simultaneously on conforming to mainstream notions of femininity while allowing for the possibility of resistance to established norms of behavior.
Within the imagined world of her drawings, girls from different eras are arranged in impossible balancing acts or contortions, or are engaged in female-identified games, chores, and grooming rituals. They are caught at various thresholds—between youth and adulthood, innocence and experience, public and private—and in contradictory moments that exist on the thin edge between self-consciousness and physical abandon, of pleasure mixed with pain. Like the beads on a necklace, the figures operate both individually, and as part of a larger system, connected to the ones that come before and after. Strung together, they create a precarious system where each is in some way dependent on the others, yet is absorbed in her own singular, inner world.