In the world of performance art, it’s beyond common for the artist to put the body into physical peril. The durational works of Marina Abramovic, that one time Chris Burden had a gallery assistant shoot him with a rifle, the infrared tattooing that Wafaa Bilal underwent… it’s old hat. Which makes it interesting to consider the body as perilous medium in the realm of visual art. Bridging the gap between the two fields, Eliza Bennett’s new project works statically in the visual sense, but would be impossible to achieve without the corporeal endurance we associate more often with performance. Entitled A Woman’s Work is Never Done, the artist embroidered her own hand to appear weathered and worn, as if having undergone years of physical labor. The hope is to draw attention to the drudgery of low-paying jobs that are generally considered gender specific, such as those in custodial, health care, and service fields.
Here's the artist's statement:
Using my own hand as a base material, I considered it a canvas upon which I stitched into the top layer of skin using thread to create the appearance of an incredibly work worn hand. By using the technique of embroidery, traditionally employed to represent femininity and applying it to the expression of it’s opposite, I hope to challenge the pre-conceived notion that ‘women’s work’ is light and easy. Aiming to represent the effects of hard work arising from employment in low paid ancillary jobs such as cleaning, caring, and catering, all traditionally considered to be ‘women’s work’.