(MATAWAN, NJ) -- Victim Shame, Body Blame, a solo exhibition featuring the work of Christy E. O'Connor, will be on display at Chashama's Space to Present (60 Main Street, Matawan) from April 4 through May 3rd. The exhibit is an analysis of American rape culture, toxic masculinity and the ever lasting effects our patriarchal society has had on both men and women, as we continue to blame and shame the victims of sexual violence, while perpetrators are rendered free from culpability.
This body of work is an analysis on the amalgamation of victim shaming tropes that men and women are taught throughout their lives, both passively and actively, through social norms, pop culture, our educational and legal systems, religious establishments, and familial influences and upbringing.
Many of the sculptural forms are inspired by the notion that, as women, no matter what we cover ourselves with, we can never escape our physical bodies, therefore, never being able to escape societal blame for any sexual violence brought upon us. The society and culture women live in has always placed blame on us and our bodies, and there is no escaping this simple truth.
Our patriarchal history of religion and laws have continuously given men and women mixed messages about sex, the overall meaning of consent and rape, and the rights of sexual partners, and how men and women should feel about sexual activity, what their roles should look like within this intimate setting, and the notion of sexual enjoyment and moral piety. Victim Shame, Body Blame evaluates this history through sculptural forms, audio and performance.
There will be an Opening Reception on Saturday, April 4th from 6:00pm-9:00pm at Chashama's Space to Present, located at 60 Main Street in Matawan, New Jersey. Chashama supports artists by partnering with property owners to transform unused real estate into space to create and present, and provides free art classes for under-resourced communities.
Christy E. O’Connor is an artist, curator, and arts advocate. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts from Ramapo College of New Jersey, where she studied studio art, photography, and education. She has participated in professional development programs, including Creative Capital at Artworks (Trenton, NJ). O’Connor is an interdisciplinary artist, whose work examines gender, feminism, cultural and social norms, politics, and history. O’Connor works in a variety of media, including painting, sculpture, and textiles.
As an interdisciplinary artist, Christy O’Connor creates through series, developing hyper focused bodies of work observing gender, women, history, and perception. She researches her subjects extensively in order to accurately tell a narrative. Thoughtful planning and consideration is involved in the selection of media she chooses to incorporate into each work so it succinctly shares a story that is meaningful to both the process and the subject. She continuously explores new materials, processes, and subjects to create bodies of work that are meaningful to her social practice. Her background as an educator drives her to generate work that implores the viewer to want to learn more about the subjects presented.
Her work has been exhibited regionally, and is included in several private collections. O’Connor’s artwork has been exhibited at Warren Community College, Artworks (Trenton, NJ) Chashama (Matawan, NJ), Arthouse Productions (Jersey City, NJ), Plaxall Gallery (LIC, NY), and PhilaMoca, (Philadelphia, PA). Her work was featured in Indi Soleil Magazine in January, 2017. Solo exhibitions and installations include Dusklit (2016-2018), Treacherous Women (2018), Vacant Memories, Absent Dreams (2018), and Victim Shame, Body Blame (2020). Collaborations include Automaton and Lost Connections (2016) and Hallow (2018). O’Connor has curated for the BSB Gallery in Trenton, NJ since 2018. Prior, she curated pop-up art exhibitions throughout the state of New Jersey, designed window displays with The Atlantic Highlands Arts Council with regional area artists (2017-2019), and works as a special projects coordinator with the Monmouth Museum.