I have been using photo-based mediums to explore traditional and mainstream culture as it shapes our perceptions of gender. The medium, as well as the method through which the viewer experiences the work, is always critical to my concepts. I play with poetic and kitsch sensibilities and often employ interactivity (low and high-tech) to engage viewers. For example, in Maria, a series of lenticular photographs reminiscent of 3D Catholic souvenir cards, I humorously explore female sexual taboo within Catholic culture. To experience the animation the viewer has to “religiously” bob up and down, in front of each piece.

In Glowing Madonna, an interactive video installation, the viewer’s shadow is exposed onto a large photo-luminescent wall panel together with a video projection of a contemporary Virgin Mary. This piece blends elements of celebrity culture and religion in a restless search for a “saintly apparition”. It literally embeds the viewer into the artwork to question their role in the creation and idolization of the iconographic woman. In Adoration, an interactive video installation inspired by home and women makeovers, explores the effect of media and pop culture on the female psyche. From a couch, the viewer watches projections of a living-room and presses remote control keys, expecting to unravel various makeovers. Adoration slowly reveals itself; not as a creation of finished makeovers, but as a deconstruction of the various audio and visual components that create the made-over illusion.

In all my artworks, the goal is for viewers to rediscover society’s role in the consumption and construction of gender within particular cultural contexts.

--Teresa Ascenção