M(use) engages the representation of women in imagery, with particular emphasis on their historical role as the "muse" of predominantly male image makers, and the potential "misuse" imbedded in that activity.
These are pictures of Jay Senetchko's wife Bridget. They live together. Each of these paintings is based on a depiction of women by painters of the past, as well as representing what she believes accurately reflects the salient moments of her everyday life.
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 regular activities and the paintings on which they are based are testament to the power of context when interpreting imagery. In some ways, Vermeer’s ‘The Milkmaid’ preparing food for the household shares similarities with Bridget making coffee in the morning; and in others, it is an interpretive world away.
Through these scenes and their historical references, Senetchko presents the difficulty encountered when attempting to identify an ‘essential’ definition of any gender, regardless of embedded stereotypes, historical precedent, societal norms, or ideological belief. 'Essentialities' tend to dissolve when applied to people, woman, man or other. It is more likely that there are only people, the things that people do, and the context in which they do them.