On Mar 15th, Emily Stroud presented her artist residence show, Reclaiming Pink. The following description is provided by the artist.
When observing bodies our judgement of them is often clouded by societal norms ingrained within us as to how we believe certain people should appear. In my work, I portray figures that have a varying idea of their own gender and specifically their femininity. I depict my subjects fully submerged in their own domestic environment, unconcerned with the societal pressures surrounding them. With oil paint, I create softness with the figures and the space they occupy. This creates a duality between the fragility and certainty within my work.
During my childhood in the south, I was forced into confusing and conflicting ideas of femininity. These ideologies of how women should look never felt like they fit my personality and often caused me physical and emotional distress. I rebelled against these norms, which also felt isolating and uncomfortable. In young adulthood, I am starting the process of unlearning what I've been told and coming to terms with what mixture of feminine and masculine traits make me and others feel safe in their bodies. I have begun to use pink in an attempt to reclaim it, forming a loving relationship with the feminine parts of my personality and body.
Emily Stroud is currently working out of Birmingham, Alabama. She has received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a concentration in oil painting. Her work has been exhibited in southeast region galleries such as The Birmingham Museum of Art, Abroms-Engel Institute for Visual Arts, and The Wiregrass Museum of Art. Her work focuses on the attitudes surrounding gender and sexuality that still exist in the south. By painting soft realistic figures that do not fit into societal norms, she makes the viewer think about the ways gender and sexuality inevitably vary. Her work challenges gender norms and stems from her own experiences growing up as a woman from Alabama.