Jill Greenberg : Glass Ceiling

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Jill Greenberg : Glass Ceiling

The women’s identities have become insignificant as their heads are visually cut off, leaving only the bodies in focus: Clearly an analogy for the female experience, clashing beauty, power and violence. The Glass Ceiling project is about the “set up” of being a woman. These women are professional athletes and dancers; therefore, they are dressed for work.

In 2008, I was commissioned to do a “fashion” shoot using the US Olympic Synchronized Swim Team as models. Two of the set ups included high heels. Inspired by the shoots outtakes I hired a local synchronized swim troupe in 2010 and directed the women with gestures as I sat at the bottom of a pool in full scuba gear with a state-of-the-art 65 megapixel back on my digital camera. As these athletes attempt to pose for me the water knocks them into awkward positions. The heels are overtly absurd and hinder their movement, amplifying their lack of control in this world.

“Glass Ceiling” marks for me the return to the explorations I made throughout the 90’s to depict the female body as if it was directly channeled from the male psyche. In these images, the identities have become inconsequential as their heads are cut off, the sexualized bodies are the focus. As a female artist, I have experimented with imagery, which explores the objectification of women for many years. First, a series of drawings of women as seen by men, just breasts, vaginas, heels, then a multimedia digital piece called “Eve of the Future” which posited that if man could genetically engineer the woman of his dreams, she would have multiple orifices and no head. This work was acquired as part of a collection by SF MOMA. The images channel the feelings I have of being powerless in a culture run by men. The psychic violence is made pictorially overt. The subjects are victimized despite their physical strength, health and any other good luck they might have been born into. The fact that they had the bad luck of being born women makes them a punchline. The violence in our slang and street vernacular used in discussing women and sexual intercourse makes it apparent that the collective male culture feels aggressively dismissive of women. I felt it was important to show the violence and emotion I feel as a woman in contemporary culture, from a woman’s point of view. The images might be read as violent towards women, they are meant to be. This is what it feels like to exist in the female body.»


Solo exhibition – A Scotiabank Contact Feature Exhibition
April 28 – June 2, 2012
131 Ossington Avenue, 
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 
M6J 2Z6
Tuesday – Saturday 
11 AM – 6 PM

Jason EASON – jason@angeladebona.com

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