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Irene Koplinka-Loehr

Has our understanding of female sexuality been dictated by a lens of reproduction? Is female sexuality linked to anatomy? In what ways is it limiting to equate being a female and having a vagina? How do you embrace your own sexuality? Do media sources pigeonhole the female experience? Who has been authorized in American society to speak about the sexuality of individuals who identify as female?

This exhibition questions the way in which female sexuality is represented in our society. There are two major components to this questioning: the microscope and the images. The utilization of the microscope as a viewing device for mini-photographs engages you, the viewer, to analyze how we interpret science as truth. A microscope, creating a scientifically directed viewing space, separates you from the images while concurrently creating a very intimate space. This juxtaposition is emblematic of how our society addresses female sexuality: keeping it at arm’s length while examining it closely. By presenting the images in a “laboratory” setting with a microscope and slides, I am inviting you to put on the lens of society. The images, pulled from representations of female sexuality in medical textbooks, online, and feminist literature, serve to contextualize the other image with which they are layered. The interplay between the two focal distances of the composite layered images creates a space of inquisition. Two images, each representing a reality, trapped in space together, engage you in a thought process that includes both of the images. This piece engages you to analyze how our understanding of sexuality is shaped by imagery. How do we define our own sexuality as individuals in American society?