Flashing: General’s Horses 1991

This work centers around public sculpture in Chicago and looks at how gender, race and class are portrayed in statues. The pieces sexualize and eroticize the representation of phallic power embodied in the general’s horses as a way of undermining the equation of male genitalia with domination. The monumental has been miniaturized and made precious. It has been subsumed into the aesthetic and offered up for the viewer’s enjoyment, while at the same time creating an unexpected imbalance. The five color photographs are matted in handmade ceramic mats and surrounded by artist-created plaster frames with motifs from the natural world that suggest phallic shapes. The images record the underbellies and genitalia of the sculptural representations of the horses of these five generals: General Washington, General Logan, General Sheridan, General Koscluszko, General Grant.

Review by Curator Gerry Craig

Detroit Artists Market: Journal of Exhibitions



Excerpts from her article

Flashing: General’s Horses combines rich metal-leaded surfaces with the look of inexpensive ceramics to create colorful alluring textures which draw the viewer in. The tiny images are photographs of the underbellies of five generals’ horses from public sculpture in Chicago. The fruit, shells and floral patterns of the ceramics and the outer motifs of the plaster frames mimic the sexual forms in the photographs, turning the tables on how women’s bodies have served as metaphors for scores of natural forms which are dehumanizing and objectifying.

. . . her juxtapositions of seemingly disparate elements creates powerful statements on politics, sexual politics and cultural institutions. Flashing: General’s Horses began with the artist’s observation that all public sculptures in Chicago were of men, mostly military heroes, presumably because there have not been women deemed worthy of these kind of monuments. Women are lionized for their physical attributes, their body and beauty, not their courage or patience or stamina. Catherine reverses which sex has its body parts glorified in Flashing, with the male genitalia of the horses shown in the center of the seductive albeit overwhelmingly large framing device. The proportion of the stereotypes ‘feminine’ images of flowers and fruit combined with the horses’ photographs comment on who it was that actually carried the generals. The luxurious gilded frames imply both the material gratification accorded war heroes and the goals of the military-industrial complex which makes war heroes possible. . . .“