2023 BA → Jessica Penfold

Jessica Penfold

Penfold, J. 1
Intimacy with Organic objects, Oil painting on canvas, 2022

Focusing on the theme of femininity, my work evokes the experience of being a woman, playing on stereotypes of womanhood that my friends and I experience every day. Becoming interested in female representation in art over time, my paintings are personal explorations of femininity created through a modern woman’s lens. Shot through the eyes of women around me, I’ve found photography an excellent media for capturing original photos to work from, moving forward to include fabric within my paintings, playing on preconceived notions of intimacy associated with the experience of being a woman. My work often prettifies stereotypes of intimacy and sexuality, questioning how viewing the work differs between the female and male gaze and understanding. The inclusion of fabric within my paintings stands as a symbolic link between fabric and femininity, embodying the historic value of domestic crafts that belonged solely to women. Needlework was seen as a skill associated with traits that women were expected to embody; remaining silent, obedient and disciplined. However, women’s craft became seen instead as a revolutionary tool of power after the impact of the post-feminist wave, where women could take something that inherently belonged to them and use it as a language of empowerment.

Penfold, J. 2
Emily’s Bedroom, Oil painting on canvas, 2022
Penfold, J. 3
Fabric and Femininity: The Girl’s Bathroom, Oil painting on fabric, 2022