Visual Female of the Month – July
– Sacha McDougall
I discovered Sacha McDougall’s work at a little exhibition I went to last month. There were only about ten people exhibiting, and Sacha’s work stood out to me. The content was superb, and the execution was clever. While the whole exhibition was really impressive, I connected with Sacha’s work as it commented on (you guessed it) women. The pieces explored women’s position in society as a potential result of advertising and ‘normalised’ concepts of femininity. These are ideas I remember studying at University, so it was a kind of nostalgic reminder. I remembered that discovery, and while the ideas seem so obvious and normal to me now, I did relate to the notion of first coming across ideas and concepts. Sacha was exhibiting for her final year of study at The Design and Arts College (where I also attended). These first images are from the exhibition – they were hung pieces of chiffon that Sacha had sewn text and image onto. I’m sure she has a bright future and I look forward to following her process.
Text reads: (Left) Hello. Enjoy your time out of the bedroom. (Right) You know you’re not the first. But do you really care?
Now for the interview….
How long have you been creating, and what is your main artistic focus?
I’ve been studying at Design and Arts College for three years and I’d been involved in artistic practice all throughout school and decided it was the path I wanted to follow. I’m still not 100% sure what my focus is yet though.
Your work comments on the position of women, how they are represented in the media, and the general objectification we are presented with daily. What drew you to this as a subject matter?
This is really the first I have looked in to it; I started looking at how advertising companies used Freud’s development of psychoanalysis to exploit emotions of the consumers in order to sell their products which led me into finding a lot of interesting advertisements. I discovered Jean Kilbourne who has some very fascinating views on the use of objectification and dehumanisation in advertising and that’s really what made me interested in looking further into it.
Do you feel there is hope for a substantial change of representation in the future? And do you believe art and visual media can accomplish this?
I think people just need to be aware that these images are there and that what the media portrays as normal should sometimes be questioned. Advertising normalises images like the ones I have used in my work. My aim was to hopefully make this visible and allow people to think about it in a new context which I think is where art and visual media can help.
You have just finished studying, what are the next steps for you in relation to your art career?
I’m planning to continue on to Whitecliffe for a final year to finish my degree so at the start of next year (all going to plan) that’s what I will be doing. Once I am all finished with my studies though, ideally I would like to go down the curatorial side and work in galleries as well as making my own art but I’m really just starting out so we’ll see where it all leads me.
If you somehow hurt your vision, would you choose to wear glasses or contacts?
Glasses, putting contacts in looks frightening
Excluding sight, what two other senses are your favourites?
Touch; it gives everything another level of interest. And hearing probably, maybe common sense haha
5 most pleasant things to look at:
Money in my bank account! Being a student has taken a toll on my wallet
Art that makes you think
People who are genuinely happy
Anything that is well made and skillful
5 least pleasant things to look at:
People being mistreated
Anything I have been working on for a long period of time
My student loan
Most of the things on the news
Who is the most inspiring woman you know and why?
Has to me my mother (cliché sorry), I just don’t know how she does everything. She is always there when I need her.
What is your favourite thing about yourself?
I would like to think I’m pretty relaxed, I don’t get too stressed which has been pretty good the last few years.
What is on your bedroom walls currently?
Not a lot honestly. We’ve just shifted, so a couple of my drawings and my boyfriend’s rugby flag and a tractor calendar ha!
Favourite clothing / accessory / product at the moment?
Napoleon tinted moisturiser. Also I bought some amazing shoes a couple of months ago.
Favourite artist at the moment:
Can I name a couple? I love Ghada Amer and Janine Antoni. Two very interesting women, look them up they’re fantastic!
And finally, any words of advice for people stepping into the creative sector?
One of my tutors got us to read “Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon, great if your stuck and don’t know what direction your going!