She’s a Snack, 2020, is a rendition based on Gustav Klimt’s Goldfish, 1902. In Klimt’s original painting, 4 female figures swim through flakes of gold. The female nudes are playful and passive, reaffirming the oppressive, dominating male gaze in Art. When considering the playfulness of youth in modern times, the viewer recalls that people who are characterized as sensual are referred to as a ‘snack’. Thus, Hickerson captures a play on words with Klimt’s title, Goldfish while referring to the well-loved cracker, Goldfish, wherein the main female nude transforms into the “snack that smiles back(, Goldfish)” while presenting herself slyly on the kitchen table.
Let’s Chill, 2019, is a rendition based on Vincent Van Gogh’s Nude Woman Reclining, Seen from the Back, 1887. The composition and colour scheme remain the same as the original painting with the addition of a man and a television on a dresser with the display: “are you still watching?”. The man is slightly turned away from the viewer; his identity becomes a mystery as he dresses himself. The viewer understands that they just walked into the moments that follow after sex. Although the painting is ultimately a commentary on hook-up culture, there are questions of how the two figures will proceed – will he stay the night – and questions regarding the nature of their relationship – is this a one night stand, a casual dynamic or something more serious? All that’s for certain is that they momentarily enjoyed themselves to the point where their attention was no longer on the television.
Bathe Myself in Your Motion, 2019, is a rendition based on Edgar Degas’s After the Bath IV, c. 1880, and William Blake’s Newton, 1795. Although the bather and Newton were painted nearly a century apart, they become the subjects of intimacy in this composition. The bather removes the last of her clothing as Newton opens a condom. The intimacy of the scene is juxtaposed by the ambiguity of their identities. The viewer recognizes that these figures are connecting in heterosexual play, but the viewer doesn’t recognize their identities due to the lack of facial details. Although sex is a common act embedded in the core of human nature, the act of sex is still ‘sinfully’ regarded as a topic that can’t be addressed publicly. Especially for women, we are sexual creatures that can’t be identified as thus. Who do we become as we grant ourselves sexual liberation?
Bouguereau Put Venus on a Pedestal, 2019, is a rendition based on William Adolphe-Bouguereau’s The Birth of Venus, 1879. Venus stands passively on a shell, a symbol of divine beauty. As Hickerson began to study Feminist Art, she began to understand that our bodies perform narratives that are socially constructed through the binary (boy and girl). When considering Hickerson’s personal narrative as a young female growing up in a society that overly sexualizes women, the viewer recognizes the influences of old narratives that still thrive today: female sexuality isn’t for herself, but rather spent at the desires of man. Thus, Adolphe-Bouguereau’s satyrs represent the persona of toxic masculinity within men who drunkenly wave money, and Venus, the exotic dancer, represents female disposition. The figures collide with space with lack of perspective and distorted light sources, challenging the perceived reality of learned behaviours.
The Fall of (Wo)Man, 2019, is a rendition based on Michelangelo’s Fall of Man as seen in the Sistine Chapel, 1508-12. The biblical teaching emphasizes that temptation and sexual desires are a sin, which is symbolized by the forbidden fruit, and Eve becomes the victim of shame when she bites into the fruit. Although this is an ancient narrative, the taboo of feminine sexuality is still prevalent today. Thus, Michelangelo’s nude forms are placed in contemporary times. While keeping a similar composition and colour scheme, the garden of Eden is brought to the bedroom. The figures reach up to turn off the lights, because it’s easier to forget the shame when you can’t see the actions taking place.