I search for the small, subtle signs and symbols of shared perceptions, particularly about beauty and the female body, that connect women to other women and from which we learn and grow as individuals.
Amanda Dandeneau first captivated Woman Made when her poignant photograph entitled Us was selected to be in the “Family Album” exhibition this past year. I remember opening up her crate during the exhibition’s installation and immediately being taken aback by it. I casually propped the large photograph against the wall and called over to Emanuel, WMG’s preparator, exclaiming, “you have to see this!” We both stared, initially out of shock, but were gradually consumed with the work’s incredible, yet subtle details, though never leaving the questions: What is going on? Is that her mother?
This photograph, along with My Mom’s Picture (currently in our “13th International Open” exhibition), are part of a series entitled “Us”, which features several images of her and/or her mother around the house. These conceptual and formal juxtapositions, whether they are together in the bedroom, in the backyard, or in the driveway, provoke a feeling of voyeurism. In many of the photographs Dandeneau and her mother gaze directly out at the viewer—is this confrontation a challenge or an invitation? Or perhaps both, as this discomforting yet affecting ambivalence certainly elicit questions with regard to familial relationships, particularly those between a mother and daughter.
Dandeneau writes, “my curiosity about female relationships is what initially inspired me to observe my own relationship with my mother. I hoped that if I learned to understand our relationship, it could lead me to learn something important about myself, which would help me develop and better understand my own identity….When I photograph the two of us together, my goal is to explore the subtle bonds that link mother and daughter, as a sub-plot to the obvious differences between aging mother and youthful daughter….I try to make my work honest and truthful; I don’t want to manipulate our relationship, but rather reveal and understand it.”
*Amanda was awarded an honorary Gallery Membership for her outstanding work in the “13th International Open” exhibition.
-Kristen Carter, Gallery Coordinator