By interrupting historical and current mainstream visual language, Pretty Powerful explores and deconstructs several layers of female representation. An element of play informs each work, and the exhibition as a whole, highlighting the roles and rules in place controlling depictions of women as objects for the male gaze. Just as the title of the show invites several intonations with different meanings, Pretty Powerful focuses on the artist’s potential to manipulate and transform the familiar in order to rebalance systems of power which determine what is shown and can be seen. These images present the viewer with what it looks like for a woman to consider herself through the contradictory lenses of the public arena and private domain. The ability to re-cast social and sexual roles through alterations in the visual field is identified as a shared source of power within these varied artistic disciplines and experiences.
The work presented by these artists is remarkable by its breadth: from Anne Noggle’s provocatively titled portraiture series ‘Saga of Fallen Flesh’ to Margaret Neumann’s depiction of the nourishment-giving ‘Tit’. Pretty Powerful uncovers experiences of the feminine and untold stories about, but not restricted to, being a woman.