a (fe)male(.)


Dimensions: 31 (1/4)" x 54" each

I am a feminist artist who depicts the power, yet oppression, of the feminine spirit. My work responds to the misrepresentation and over sexualizing of women through depicting their bodies as beautiful in their most natural form.


The title of this series, with parentheses around “fe” with a distinct period at the end, are in reference to gender, sex, power, and menstruation. My pieces focus on the anatomical female sex, however, my subject’s genders are left, and intended to perceived as, ambiguous. Therefore, in respect to an individual's personal identification, I leave “fe” in parentheses. This use of parentheses are also in reference to the historical representation of women being “second to” or “dependent on” men. The “(.)” references to menstruation.


I often portray subjects of healthy sizes fully nude with natural hair to normalize rather than sexualize their bodies and illustrate the beauty of their natural essence. I aim to not only illustrate the beauty of the female body but also the power of it. Women hold this immense power that allows them to bring life into the world. Through the depiction of vaginas, I strive to illustrate how the organs should not be perceived in any way as impure, though instead seen as literal portals for life connecting one world to another. This power relates women to their intertwining connections between nature, the Earth, and surrounding universe.


Using physical twists of the torso of the subjects, I aim represent women’s irrational association with sin and seduction. Such twists and extreme perspectives aim to illustrate how female bodies are manipulated by lust and the idea they exist as objects to be tempted by.


My charcoal drawings are done on stained paper. I use coffee and water to create toned blotches and splatters on the surfaces. The coffee stains add an organic component to the composition. It is furthermore directly symbolic of menstrual blood. The washes act as well as a visual representation of the stained views people tend to have towards the nude female body. This idea is further illustrated in ways where areas of the background wash come forth and overlap the female subjects in the foreground. This allows the lines between reality and fantasy within these drawings to be further blurred in addition to creating the illusion that the body of the subject, while beautiful, is physically tainted.


Though nude and stained, the women depicted within the compositions are not intended to look sexual or uncomfortable in their positions. Instead, I aimed to capture a look of confidence on their faces, perhaps a slight smirk or gleam in their eye. Their stances are strong. Together, the drawings and paintings portray the struggle yet strength of the female spirit. They are not deterred from the stains that have come to cover their bodies.

Shown in the following exhibitions:

Ithaca Fantastik Film Festival 
Ithaca, NY
Juried by Rachel Huley
October 31-November 4, 2018

2017 Senior Thesis Exhibition
The Tang Teaching Museum
Saratoga Springs, NY
Juried by the Skidmore Art Faculty
May 11-May 21, 2017

Catherine Heller
Brooklyn, New York
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Linked In
  • Email