After getting married, buying a new home, and renovating the home, all occurring in a relatively short period of time, I was feeling overwhelmed by the changes in my life. The roles I had established for myself as a single, independent woman were now at times in conflict with my new roles as wife, stepmother, and homeowner. The following body of work was inspired by these many life events and by the short story titled “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gillman.
I have completed many self-portrait series at different times in my life, which always seem to stem from some larger social issues. I began this photographic series during the renovation of my home, the visible external changes of construction being a metaphor for the invisible internal struggle I was experiencing. At this time I also re-read the short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper.” The slow loss of the main character’s identity and her struggle to maintain her sanity resonated with my experience. Although madness became her only outlet for a sense of freedom, I realized the female domestic roles I was struggling with were powerful and at times overwhelming. In the story, she identifies strongly with a woman she envisions as trapped in the yellow wallpaper. I began to interpret my physical space as having the potential to ensnare me in outdated female roles and social status.
Copyright © 2020 Margaret Hart