Kelsy Gossett

Artist Statement

My work explores contemporary female experience. To do so, I take on specific topics regarding stereotypes and expectations that range from personal grooming to motherhood. The photographs and moving images I create draw attention to stereotypes of young women while poking fun, exaggerating and often satirizing these outdated and misguided perceptions. I want my work to be an access point for conversation.

I choose to photograph other women in my still images because I hope to speak about womanhood generally, not solely to my own experiences. While I will never be able to represent every woman in my images, I hope other women are able to relate to the themes presented in my work. By using models of differing shapes, sizes, and skin color, the concept becomes more inclusive.

In addition to photographing other women, I use my own body in short, performative videos. I am both the active artist directing the image as well as the passive subject being looked at. By putting myself on display, I am engaging the discourse of the scopophilic gaze. I then manipulate and deny that visual pleasure by incorporating unexpected elements.

I am interested in continuing the feminist discourse set before me from seminal feminist artists such as Carolee Schneemann and Cindy Sherman. I am inspired by these artists’ use of body and self. Sherman’s exploration of stereotypical female characters often informs the characters I enact. Schneemann used the abject as a way to both tantalize the viewer with the obscure and create a moment of discomfort that I am very interested in. I also use the abject, along with satire and directness, to create a disruption from the comfortable. This disruption is necessary for my images to be understood and not taken for initial face value.

In addition to feminist artists, I reference fashion, media and even porn to expose where our societal attitudes about gender originate. I choose to print large scale and on glossy paper to reference advertisement which heavily influences societal norms. Bright pops of color grab your attention and satirical and exaggerated elements criticize the notion of a stable gender binary. Not everyone lives in the strict binary of man or woman, but we are still socially and politically dictated by this dichotomy. My artwork strives to expose flaws of using gender as a social construct, but allow the viewer room to relate, to laugh and to reflect.