Proper Behavior, Damas Malcriadas…Buen Comportamiento, Ill-Bred Ladies

November 13, 2008-April 29, 2009


The work of artists Rosa M. Valdez and Heidi Forssell is installed in Rosenberg Library.
The artists describe their collaborative exhibition:

As artists and women, we are deeply concerned with the societal value of women. In this exhibition, we seek to address the ways in which women are valued and defined while exploring the tension between external representations of women and real women’s realities. In our work, we each utilize humor and earnestness to delve into preconceptions about women’s roles in society while examining the stereotypical objectification of women. We both aim to throw a wrench at the societal values that distort and misrepresent us in an effort to create critical dialogue and alternative feminine identities for all women.We hope to inspire laughter, curiosity, skepticism, hope and action.

Hairy Girl Horizontal Heidi Forssell

Heidi co-opts the symbology and metaphor of found objects to challenge the attitude they solicit. She works with objects such as high heels, lipstick, and ball gowns that exist as satellites revolving around the issue of gender, love and sex. She subjects these objects to interventions which simultaneously exaggerate and counter their original meanings. The work is repulsively fascinating and comically macabre.

sin-mancha rv_beauty-pagaent Rosa M. Valdez

Rosa’s draws on her experience as the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her work explores the tense space between cultural expectations of women in her community and the creation of a new feminine identity through the use of photography, video installation, garment-making and image transfer. She utilizes humor and the ridiculous as well as personal and public images to invite viewers to participate in creating alternative spaces for women to define who they are.

The artists ask you t consider these questions as you look at the exhibition:

How much of your identity is defined by your gender?

What messages did you receive as a child about your gender?

What was the source of these messages? (school, home, church, pop culture)

How does your culture affect your behavior as a woman?

What are some great things about being a woman?


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Check out these great resources on Women in the Arts:

Library Resources: Women in the Arts Bibliography

Check out Rosa Valdez’ Blog

Check out Heidi Forssell’s Blog

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