These are pictures of Jay Senetchko’s partner Bridget. They live together. Each of these paintings is based on a depiction of women by painters of the past and represent what the artist views to be the salient moments of her life. She agrees.
A lot has changed for women over the last century in the western world, and yet much has remained the same. The visual similarities between the moments of Bridget’s day-to-day existence and the paintings on which they are based are testament to the power of context when interpreting the depicted action. Although the subject matter of the images and those upon which they are based are similar, those that may easily be construed in a negative manner in one may have positive connotations in the other. So in some ways, Vermeer’s ‘The Milkmaid’ preparing food for the household shares similarities with Bridget making coffee for us in the morning in one image, but is an interpretive world away in others.
For the artist, these scenes and the referenced context are representations of the belief that there is no ‘essential’ definition of what it means to be a woman, just as there is no ‘essential’ definition of what it means to be a person…of any gender. There are only people, the things that people do and the context in which they do them.