Mary Burger

How Touching is a series of works that look for nuanced responses to the predatory language around female bodies and sexuality.

In How Touching, the contradictory meanings imposed on femaleness—nurturer or seductress, fetishized, domesticated, or condemned—emerge through the materials: the blue wool of itchy Catholic schoolgirl uniforms, the bride’s sheer silk, the white cotton that could be diaper or dish towel, and the inescapable sexual symbolism of flowers. How Touching includes a group of small ‘specimen cases’, shadow boxes with brass title plates, that present frank references to female anatomy.

Grabby Hands is a group of small paintings based on medical imagery of the microflora in a healthy woman’s vagina. The title refers to the well-known boast that inspired the pussy hats of 2017. Each piece is mounted with an engraved plate bearing the bacteria’s species name and the fictional cultivar name ‘Grabby Hands’. This faux-scientific presentation aims to elevate the discourse through equal parts intellect and humor.

The larger pieces use fabrics and textures to explore connotations of touch and the untouchable, intimacy, vulnerability, and care.

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