“Nice nipples.” This comment was directed towards me after I exited my car, less than 15 feet from my studio. I parked in the closest spot to the door, in a futile hope to not be harassed. Yet, it happened. Opened up and let go without consequence. He continued on his way without looking back, as if he’d just said “hello.” The memory of the encounter lingers with me.
Although this is not the first time I have experienced gender-based street harassment, it is another reminder of why I make my work. I strive to create a space for dialogue. I use aspects from these experiences in my work. A strong provocative image, stark contrast to draw the viewer in, and strong conceptual messages for the viewer to ponder, are pulled from the comments and feelings conjured from these public interactions. The ease of the perpetrator to call into question one’s safety is a constant reminder that one is the subject of the male gaze.
Influences stem initially from my personal experiences, then incorporate pop culture narratives in media, sex work, and social criticism. I am looking past the sale of sexual experiences and thinking about the sexual and economic systems that bring people together for the exploitation of the female figure and labor.
My creative process is interdisciplinary. Being open to different processes and technology allows me to expand upon the ideas that I am working with and allows for new ways of traditional and nontraditional art making processes. I’ve been increasing the kinds of technology I use in my artmaking. I’ve incorporated toys, taken prints to the gun range incorporated bullet holes in them, and adapted printmaking processes with new media to create prints with elevated process and meaning.
Carol-Anne McFarlane studied at the Atlanta College of Art, where she learned to make art that reflected her personal experiences and led to examining our collective social conditioning. McFarlane was in the Intersectionality show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami. In October 2016 McFarlane was shown in the Outer Space show in London, UK.
McFarlane’s commitment to her intersectional artistic practice and engagement with Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator and their International Cultural Exchange Program (Belize, 2019, Guadeloupe 2020, and Panama 2021), led to McFarlane receiving the DVCAI 2021 Artist Catalyst Award in December 2020.
McFarlane was born in Fort Lauderdale, to Jamaican parents. She was a Resident Artist at the Lauderhill Arts Center for 6 years. She lives and works in the United States.