July 2007 at the Littman Gallery, Portland, Oregon.
Painted portraiture and the scientific method may be unlikely bedfellows, but it is by combining these approaches that, in the space of a year, I’ve discovered what it means to be a woman.
Conjecturing that womanhood originates in physical changes, I gathered seven test subjects for study. Their transitions ranged from puberty and pregnancy to marriage and menopause, but also embraced modern gender surgeries like breast enlargement and male-to-female sex reassignment. I painted one “before” portrait of each of the test subjects and, a year later, when their transitions were complete, followed up with an “after” portrait.
Scrupulously observing the scientific method, I also painted “before” and “after” portraits of one subject who would not experience a major physical change during the year’s interval: I painted myself. I became the control subject for my own experiment, and, in one of those delicious moments of unexpected synthesis, learned what scientists have known for years. It all comes down to asking the right question.
To learn more about the making of this series, please visit this article on my blog.