I take photographs of television scenes that pass the Bechdel Test. Coined by cartoonist Alison Bechdel, the test enforces two parameters: A scene must feature at least two female characters and the characters cannot be discussing men. After studying the photographs, I remove the characters from the image. This subtraction leaves reverse silhouettes, amplifying the space between the women. My two-and three-dimensional works employ collage and print to define the emotional and physical space that animates women’s relationships with each other. I call this the psychic space, charged by television’s moiré pattern, where the external and internal lives of each woman converge.
I grew up between Generations X and Y. Cellphones, computers and the Internet, especially, had yet to become commonplace. The television set, however, was the epicenter of my childhood home in suburban Houston. I have always enjoyed television and movies. I watch to connect and participate in the conversations that television provokes, escape from stress or boredom, and stimulate my imagination. To me, a television set is more than furniture; it’s a mirror casting realities that shape my experience of womanhood. Pivoting from such Pictures Generation artists as Sarah Charlesworth, Barbara Kruger, and Cindy Sherman, my work examines television’s contemporary representations of women and exposes the fallout, resulting from images of femininity being created and defined almost entirely by men. When women disqualify themselves from opportunities or tear each other down, those actions are not created in a vacuum. Instead, they are refractions informed by subtle yet pervasive cultural depictions of women, who often lack agency and compete as objects of desire for men’s approval. My process of investigation confronts and reclaims these refractions, repurposing a lens for telling my own story.
Shannon Crider (born 1985, New York, NY) resides in Houston, Texas, after receiving her MFA in Printmedia from The School of the Art Institute Chicago (2016). She has exhibited throughout the United States, including the 2013 Texas Biennial and Artists Looking at Art at the McNay Art Museum. Her work has been featured in the catalog, Shannon Crider: The Ballad of Polynices. Crider received her BFA from Oklahoma City University (2008). She is a resident artist at Box 13 ArtSpace.
Learn more about the artist at www.shannoncrider.com