Artists picture what they believe needs to be better seen—either because it is too often hidden, or because it deserves different acknowledgment. In the case of “Feeling Myself,” a series of cut-paper figures by Skylar Davis that depicts female masturbation, both reasons pertain. Davis describes growing up in a small Kentucky town with a fundamentalist Christian majority, and the obligations of local girls like herself to keep their sexuality quiet. In response she’s borrowed imagery and attitudes from porn magazines, traced simple drawings of women pleasuring themselves onto mylar and other decorative paper, and mounted them in the kind of decorative frames you might prop up on a side table in the living room. That’s not the place to stash porn of course, or to masturbate for that matter. But forcing young women to ignore their bodies demands extreme retaliation.
—Lori Waxman 3/24/17 6:56 PM