Sunday, February 17, 2008

Images from the Wayward show:

Show open through March 1st, Saturdays 11 - 5.

301 Bocana Gallery in Bernal Heights

Rorschach Case Studies (12 in. x 12 in., embroidery on cloth, 2008)

The Rorschach test is the classic ink blot test developed in the 1920’s as a psychological diagnostic tool. The abstract shapes were presented to patients, and their responses were thought to reveal subconscious thoughts and desires. The ink blot test is currently thought to be too subjective and projective to work as a diagnostic, but throughout the 1940’s and 50’s the test was used to help diagnose a number of conditions, notably homosexuality. A group testing approach was even developed for use by the military in WWII to detect men who were unfit for service.
By the 1950’s papers were published which collected responses to the ink blots which indicated homosexuality. These signs came to be known as “Wheeler Signs of Homosexuality”. These “signs” focused mainly on gay men. Reading through case histories from the 40’s and 50’s, you find few references to lesbianism, but this seems partly due to the fact that lesbianism was considered a more curable state. Women were diagnosed as having gender-role confusion, or immature ideas about sex. Men on the other hand were thought to sink quickly into depravity if their homosexual impulses were followed.
The series of embroideries made for this show are based on several of the original Rorschach ink blots. The titles reflect responses, based on reading case studies from the 1940’s and 50’s which would have categorized a woman as homosexual, or at least confused about her proper gender role in society.

Rorschach case study VII:
“my goodness, why are you showing me this? I can’t make out anything”

Rorschach case study I : “a female body builder”

Rorschach case study VI :
“ an ornately carved bedpost, a completely useless object”

Rorschach case study III : “women above, men below”

The Bearded Lady Café (embroidered cloth, 2008)

Also included in the show is a piece inspired by memories of Red Dora’s Bearded Lady Café. The Bearded Lady was a ground-breaking dyke performance space in the Mission in the early 90’s. Performers such as Michelle Tea, Silas Howard and Harry Dodge got their start here.