Margit Briggs, BFA Exhibition

Don't Show Your Dirty Laundry

Margit Briggs, BFA Senior Exhibition in Drawing
April 17 – April 28, 2015
Highsmith Art & Intercultural Gallery
Gallery Hours: Monday – Saturday, 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.;
                          Sunday, noon – 6:00 p.m.
Opening Reception: Friday, April 17, 2015 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Free and open to the public.

The women portrayed in this series show the private side of the woman who was brought up to be a “Southern Belle.” Based on personal observation, the artist depicts aristocratic Southern social culture as involving a great deal of manipulation in order to conceal imperfections and to display qualities which are socially acceptable. To highlight this perception, this series of drawings, “Don’t Show Your Dirty Laundry," focuses on narratives about Southern women who pretend to be without moral defect and instead display qualities which are socially acceptable. This pressure to hide human emotions and characteristics is so strong that while the world is collapsing around her, the proper Southern lady still manages to put on a girdle and look as she is expected to. According to Alexis Brown this utopian woman, “embraced femininity, beauty, simplicity, and submissiveness; the highest roles to which a southern woman could aspire were those of nurturing mother, dutiful wife, and social moral pillar.”

The idea of the seemingly infallible woman pictured by Western civilization is the foundation of this body of work. Through the utilization of watercolor and colored pencil, the drawing method for this series is very controlled and leaves room for few mistakes. Therefore, the very process of making my work resembles the restriction encompassing southern women through the utilization of watercolor and colored pencil. By using watercolor as a preliminary drawing, the roughness of colored pencil is softened. This also allows for definition of specific focal points by using only watercolor in some areas as a fading background to the figure. These two mediums used together create delicate images which flatter the women who are depicted as well as a clear contrast between their perfect appearance and reality. ---- Margit Briggs

Image: Margit Briggs, Madam Bovary, from BFA Senior Exhibition, Don't Show Your Dirty Laundry, watercolor and colored pencils, 2015.

The Senior Exhibition is the culmination of Briggs' studies leading to a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.