Exhibition Statement: Marilyn Minter

Marilyn Minter at Max Protetch Gallery - April 11 thru May 9, 1992, Tracy Ann Essoglou.

Representations of women, of women's sexuality, desires and practices have been limited by dominating social codes -- codes which have restricted behavior and 'want' to narrowly defined gender scenarios -- particularly within western culture. Fear, guilt, ignorance, silence, even rage have often rendered women complicitous in this continuing impoverishment. Amidst age-old shame, denial, secrecy, there is an arena of desire as-yet largely unexplored. Marilyn Minter's new works are a gesture made in an effort to create "sex-positive" imagery.

Lifting images directly from pornography, and in most cases cropping them to new scopophilic dimensions, these paintings and mylar assemblages on sheets of aluminum attempt to un-leash sexual imagery from the present rhetoric surrounding such representation. Reclaiming the images of a culturally abused and abusive history of sexual representation, her new paintings reformulate questions of sexual representation specifically in relation to women's desire and pleasure.

The blown-up portraits of sexual encounters do not make for an easy reception. The imagery 'looks' and 'feels' pornographic -- probably because it is. Minter has not invented the moments; instead she has appropriated photographic instances and chosen to paint them calling attention to the manner of their reproduction.

The history and debate surrounding explicit and graphic sexual imagery is daunting. In its contemporary manifestation the issues range from misogyny and the near constant abuse of women to censorship and freedom of expression. As viewers we may not be prepared to witness but we can no longer avoid the confrontation.

Tracy Ann Essoglou, April 1992, NYC. 
Ms. Essoglou is a conceptual artist, and a writer. Her work addresses cultural and cross-cultural politics, specifically the arena of gender and communication.

..Sexuality is so complicated that it really spits in the face of people who want to dogmatize their political issues. -Susie Bright

The task for women is unlearning self-repression and reaching affirmation. -Avital Ronell

Resisting oppression means more than just reacting against one's oppressors - it means envisioning new habits of being, different ways to live in the world. And I believe true resistance begins with people confronting pain whether its theirs or somebody else's - and wanting to do something to change it. -bell hooks