[February 8 2022]
London-based American artist Lydia Pettit makes paintings and textile works that explore trauma, body image and self-identity. Using herself as a model, Pettit questions how the female image is registered and accepted and, in the process, addresses the complex impact of the objectification of women within society.
Pettit focuses on aspects of looking, self-belief and shame and how these are bound up with an idealised notion of the feminine. At the same time, her work provides a direct and unmediated insight into her own individual struggle, a narrative of self-empowerment resulting from personal traumatic life experience. Turning her focus inwards, and often depicting her own body nude, she meets the viewer’s gaze, demanding the acceptance of her own supposed imperfections while simultaneously making the viewer question their perception of classical pictorial beauty.
“I use my paintings and quilts to accept this part of me, make peace with it and move forward, and leave these fleeting thoughts on canvas and fabric. My works are confrontational depictions of my own inward gaze, forcing the viewer to reckon with the realities of my body and mind, and their own viewpoints on the struggles women face with sexual abuse, trauma, body politics, and mental health.” – Lydia Pettit
On view now until March 8 2022 on White Cube’s online gallery here.
Portrait by Jess Ellis Scandebergs