ABOUT THE VIRGINS
Essentially, the Paper Virgins are an attempt to pull together the threads of both historical and contemporary images of women and try to clarify the connection between them. They seek to expose traditional ‘Christian’ images of women as the propaganda of social control and highlight the current female iconography as a direct result of the constructs behind those images. The work comprises three separate themes, with The Life of a Virgin and Seven Saints containing a brief text and historical quote to highlight the underlying messages presented within them.
This allegorical ‘paper’ Mary is the product of nearly two thousand years of religious ideas, moulded and transformed by the demands of paternalistic culture.
Through pictures and sculptured ‘relics’ these ‘sainted’ women are empowered by their own physicality, possibility of change and the freedom of choice. Although some were fictitious, many of the pictured saints were regarded as martyrs, rejecting the offerings of men. The series is presented alongside seven three-dimensional relics, or sculptures of the artist.
Is about lampooning authority. These nuns obviously bear no resemblance to those of the real world but are a useful symbol of compliance and humility to throw back at a monolithic male-dominated institution.
The work also covers the ongoing debate of women within religious organisations as lay members or clergy, the ongoing feminist discussions and the continuing arguments surrounding the issues of pornography and the female image. As a means of encouraging dialogue, Paper Virgins is deliberately designed to be accessible on many levels. It may be seen as thought provoking, entertaining and hopefully a little controversial. And yes, it’s hoped you smile, these artworks are seriously amusing!