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Love comics (written and illustrated by men for a female readership) taught romance rules to women in the 1940s–1970s: girl falls in love at first sight, some conflict arises, but she finally gets her man and after one kiss they marry. Almost all stories end happily with a “completed” woman—in three to six pages. Towards the 1970s some political and feminist undertones crept into the plot along with the miniskirt, but were eventually subdued by the same happily-ever-after moral to the story. They are perfect illustrations of distilled cultural expectations for women, most still in operation today albeit under cover in our politically correct generation. In this body of work I have juxtaposed the two-dimensional comic book with the three-dimensional reality of life. Neither part is altered. The frisson comes in the conflation of real and ideal and the slippage between the two. The comic format and humor is disarming enough to draw the viewer into looking at and laughing at these stereotypes. Nostalgia is also an effective device to draw one into questioning invisible institutions. All prints are made in the gum bichromate process, a 19th century photographic process that is printed layer upon layer over a period of days. Gum melds well with the comic book look, in its sometimes odd color palette and inherently imperfect, spotty, streaky, grainy nature. 

 

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