Lacey Lewis will exhibit her paintings of burlesque and sideshow artists this July at Hilliard Gallery in Kansas City, MO in a show titled, "Taking Sexy Back."
In 2010, artist Lacey Lewis started a series of paintings featuring burlesque and sideshow performers. “I live vicariously through my paintings,” says Lewis. “I’ve always been a fan of glamour and costume, the transformative effects of make-up and the visual textures of satin, sequins, glitter and feathers. However, I’ve never been a fan of the objectification that unfortunately follows.”
“I am uncomfortable with the idea that my dress is linked with my sexuality, or that I am inviting sexual attention based on my outward appearance,” she continues. “Most of the time if women dress up, it’s for their own gratification. Yet people perpetuate beliefs that these women are somehow forcing men to become sexually aggressive toward them. I dream of the day that we collectively honor a woman’s appearance and sexuality as her own domain.”
It has been said that our culture only approves women’s sexualization if it is non-consensual, otherwise it is deemed sluttiness. This catch-22 shames women who celebrate and enjoy their own bodies. Modern-day burlesque seeks to create a safe space for women to exist as sexual subjects; a powerful experience not only for performers but also for the audience.
“Working with these women has definitely changed me. Just being near people with the ability to command the space around them stirs a feeling of power inside me, and this is what I hope to convey to my viewers. I want them to admire the brazen confidence and beauty of my subjects, and to also feel that boldness inside themselves.”
"Taking Sexy Back" opens First Friday July 1st 6-9pm.