“Tomboy Tools: Craft, Performance and Socially Constructed Hierarchies” (2014)

 In this project, I have incorporated critical theory, found objects, craft, and personal history into my artwork to create an installation that critiques the socially constructed idea that men and women are binary. To do this, I have created an installation that consists of found objects that are socially recognizable as masculine, (ie: tools, fishing and hunting equipment). Objects often encourage gender performativity which can eventually lead to socially constructed ideas of gender norms and roles. My work will eliminate gender binaries by juxtaposing masculine tools with socially constructed ideas of femininity through craft. By manipulating “masculine objects” with craft, I will encourage the viewer to question why both practices are binary and to assess how women and men practices have been separated throughout history.

My body of work is an installation piece that consists of old tarnished tools, fishing and hunting equipment and labour related items. These objects are personal and have been given to me by my family. Many of the tools are approximately sixty to seventy years old. The age of the tools symbolize the era in which men were primarily responsible for work. The objects also carry family history and personal connections. I manipulate the objects through dialogue and personification. I have carefully chosen my materials and mediums to relate to each object in a specific way. I have incorporated contemporary and historic craft to introduce aspects of different time periods. The objects have been manipulated using a variety of mediums, such as sculpture, painting, engraving and encaustic. The materials are chosen in regards to their relation with femininity and how they complement and react with the objects. Many of the objects after manipulation are still functional and have been used to create other works in my installation. The manipulated objects argue that women are capable of practicing many of the same activities as men.

“Tomboy Tools: Craft, Performance and Socially Constructed Hierarchies” was exhibited in the BFA Graduate Exhibition 2014, April 2014 at the WKP Kennedy Gallery in North Bay Ontario. This exhibition was exhibited under the former name of “Found Objects”.

Photographs by Dre Allen (BFA student Nipissing University)

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