Ripping, Collaging, Understanding? : Work in Progress / by Hannah Harley

In my last blog post, I discussed my desire to be honest and open about the immensely personal conceptual series that I have been working on. In this process, I fear that some of you may be disappointed in the confessions that must be shared to fully understand the origin of these series. But in order to present these works, I must be entirely open. 

For those of you who may be uncomfortable by this radical honesty: One day, I hope you understand that this is necessary for my continued growth and that it is important for me to continue to explore this discourse. While I understand the potential weariness some of you may have with the personal nature of this work, I cannot apologize for it. I know that it does not fit comfortably into this morality that some of you may consider 'proper'. This may cause some to be overwhelmingly disappointed in my artistic evolution. But, and I cannot stress this enough, this is where my passions lie. 

My most recent project is inspired by my recent entrance into the dating scene. I have been curious about how individuals view potential romantic partners. In particular, I am interested in how the heterosexual male views women. 

We are constantly bombarded by the concept that the heterosexual male is drive, first and foremost, by sexual satisfaction. This is a common stereotype portrayed in both popular media and evolutionary biology. While I cannot pretend to fully understand the complex reasonings of the entire heterosexual male population, I can begin the process. 

In an attempt to better understand this relationship, I bought variety packs of pornographic magazines. By buying these, I hoped to gain some insight into the male gaze. But I struggled to comprehend some of the content. So I began ripping the pages out, out of fear and fury. 

There I was, sitting on my living room floor surrounded by pages and pages, wondering, "Where do I go from here? How can I take this and change it?" 

So I began cutting the pages into strips to collage these close up, erotic photographs. These pieces would allow me to create an abstract, sensual portrayal of the subtle beauty found in healthy sexual relationships. 

Again: healthy sexual relationships. 

That was what caused me the most outrage at the pornography. These relationships were not healthy. The situations were almost exclusively of males dominating women with the exception of the issue of Barely Legal. I had no idea what was in these variety packs, but if I had known that Barely Legal existed, I may have never begun this project. And humiliation pornography brought me to tears. I want to approach this with as open a mind as I possibly can, but these two genres ripped me into pieces. 

So I ripped them apart. 

Several late night work sessions from now, I'll compile this into a larger series, filled with flesh tones and light pastels. Abstract snippets of pornography. The beauty of sexual intimacy. Until then, here is a work in progress: 

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One last sad, sad side note: Apparently, someone by the name of 'Hanna Harley' is a porn star.