An artist’s response to contemporary feminist nuances.
Composed from an intuitive process layering found images, self-portraits, film and digital photographs and drawings, Cara Jordan-Miller mixes and remixes until something settles and she finds comfort in what she is looking at. Jordan-Miller's work is grounded in the human form, particular the feminine, exploring its colours, textures and the restrictions the perception of gender can place on the body’s wearer.
What Is Contemporary Feminism to you? What should current feminism constitute?
Contemporary feminism, at its core, stands for what it has always stood for – social, political and economic equality of the sexes, although today it is far more inclusive and intersectional than previous movements (and rightly so).
In which ways does feminism play a role in your art practice?
Feminism has for so long been a part of who I am, that I find it inherent in all my art – whether explicit or not. My work often comes from a place of frustration with my continuing experience of having my identity being reduced or dismissed because of archaic gender roles being imposed upon me. The resulting works are either a deliberate expression or reaction to this, or the process of making my work often acts as respite from this reality. While this has a cathartic release, I have to recognise the place of women in art history; that they were always the muse and never the artist, and the sum of who they were was defined by their body. After a context where women have been so objectified – which frankly still exists today - I’m incredibly wary of portraying the female form in an image. I find the human body endlessly fascinating from a formalist perspective – with all its colours, textures and forms – but I never want to add to the narrative of a woman only existing as a sex object. It’s probably because of this difficulty that I find the body so intriguing. I refuse to accept the impossibility of depicting a woman who is not pandering to the male gaze and my art is my way of continually testing how to do so.
Words and images by Cara Jordan-Miller