Goodman has done this before with stills from trashy sexploitation films, looking at the way women’s facial expressions are forced to enact cheaply exaggerated sensationalist emotions and how they manipulate the gaze of the male viewer. This time, delving into social media, she takes this exploration into a more pervasive realm and into private spaces. As always, there’s a weird tension between whether the women in the images are victims, their bodies and lives commodified by social media, or whether they can exploit and manipulate its conventions in a way that is powerful. In this exhibition, Goodman explores a strange crossover between public and private existence – the idea that when a woman is looked at, she performs, but what happens in private?
The labour that goes into making these works also plays complex games with value. She uses laborious craft to reframe, or reinterpret, a cheap, trashy image – the time and effort spent on it transforming it from a disposable consumer image to something precious, human and loaded with complex meaning. She uses craft to subvert consumerism but, at the same time, explores the disconcerting overlap between consumerism and sexuality, particularly the way women’s sexuality is commodified, coded and controlled.
Before you go, take a look at these earlier works from Goodman’s portfolio.
BANNER SERIES (2007)
Some of her earlier works include wall sculptures in the form of banners embroidered with sequins spelling out phrases from interviews with professional bodybuilders as an exploration of the way we see ourselves and value our bodies. Like the beautiful little embroideries she made transcribing obscene graffiti copied from toilet walls and the oval wall sculptures she made with embroidered beadwork spelling out phrases describing emotions, she uses craft and stitching to complicate the way we read words and pictures. The stitching harnesses the obsessive, intricate details of traditional women’s craft to express the anxiety and neurosis in the affirmations they spell out and the way emotions are commodified. She followed the theme through in a range of media, using beads, false eyelashes and even vajazzles.