“Do men really hate women? Or do they just have breast-envy?” —Molly Pamela
When I learned not too long ago about the 2004 statistic revealing the contradictory and shocking fact that the Metro Museum of Art, yes, the very same chic and world renowned art museum in New York City that’s home to some of the most incredible works in the entire world—barely features any of our modern lady artists’ pieces, but yet, 85% of the works displayed in the museum are paintings or sculptures of nude females, I was astounded. Why? Why in this day and age are we pretending like men are the only ones with an artistic visionary worth displaying? And why are the ladies consistently being put on sexual display?
And I know we’re moving forward with this; I know lady artists and advocates ‘round the world are fighting. So it really thrilled me when Molly McKay, one half of Cleveland’s exceptionally awesome experimental music duo Cereal Banter—who is also not so coincidentally a considerably young woman artist—was being featured for her very feministic, very gender aware exhibit “Heavy Petals” at BUCKBUCK gallery, that will leave one really thinking about the bigger questions that these pieces propose about sex, about gender—about all of this. And as a former feminist scholar and gender equality advocate myself, I was curious about the roots of Molly’s exhibit; she was awesome enough to answer a few questions for this piece to give us some insight on her work.
I opened the interview with the basic question of when she first took notice of this unfairness, especially in the art world:
“Growing up, I always noticed that when women were talked about in art, somebody made a point to say WOMEN. Why? Why not just the collective word, ARTIST(S)? Then, I slowly but surely realized that is was because there aren’t as many women being recognized as men.”
Which—now, she can laugh in their faces, because for the past two months she has been undoubtedly busy at work putting together the various “Heavy Petals” installments that are each made for “women to relate to, and men to understand”; “Every piece resembles something that [she] [has] gone through, seen someone go through, or [is a portrayal of] effects social media has on our culture.”
She has spent thousands, and thousands of dollars at Pat Catan’s, Home Depot, Hobby Lobby, Jo Ann Fabrics–you name it. “Your kids will wish that you had bought my work when you had the chance,” she kids.
Molly’s artistic vision comes out best in her “own controlled mess.” “Put me in a gallery and I can foresee what I can make it, put me in my apartment with all of my supplies and work-see how I can bring that idea to life. I’m usually feeling Marnie Stern lately when I’m working because she screams for all females.”
Molly doesn’t necessarily “call” herself anything particular regarding a specific feministic stance—“Call me a feminist. Call me if you need something. Call me if you run out of gas.” She seems to relay more on living through her ideals in her life, art, and music, rather than voicing them through what seems nowadays a very constricting label, given the infinite complexities of the world.
When she’s not busy making music for Cereal Banter or creating intricate and political exhibits for gallery display, she “practice[s] feminism every day by sticking up for [herself] and [her] rights.”
Now I have no idea what exactly Molly’s exhibit will entail as far as specifics go; I am only going by what she divulged for this piece and what little teaser photographs were displayed on the Internet. But, I do know that this exhibit is meant to evoke way more than just an, “oh! That looks pretty!” Each piece represents a struggle women face in the aggressive world of seemingly endless penis envy. Basically Molly sums it up as a, “collection of in-your-face works that will bring you to life.”
“Heavy Petals” opens at 7PM tonight, February 16, at BUCKBUCK art gallery in Cleveland (3901 Lorain Avenue), and runs through April 6 at 7PM.
(photos via BuckBuck)