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Martyr Syndrome


Raw humor at you service- in addition to moving landscapes and figure paintings! Specialties include oil paintings and silkscreens. Conceptual works have been described by the New Haven Advocate as pushing the buttons of "sex, politics and religion".

Sarah McKay
Martyr Syndrome
32 x 36 in
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This painting is from a series recently in the BFA 2009 show titled "Whiffs of a Patriarchal Society". In this project I am focusing on the cultural pathology surrounding a specifically personal female experience of life. I want to bring to the forefront different distorted aspects of our society that still hold firm to the gender roles that are deeply ingrained in our daily lives. I have observed the roles and cycles of mothers, step-mothers, aunts and grandmothers and transfer my interpretation of this phenomena to the canvas through absurd imagery that reflects my feelings of the absurd nature that is often overlooked. These paintings intend to evoke feelings of a comical nightmare with distorted figures that do not over-emphasize the overly feminine body that we see so much of in contemporary media. These paintings are much more about the mental anxiety and the tormented sub-conscious than they are about female's physical expectations. For example, in the "Martyr syndrome" painting I would like to combine symbolic images referencing self-sacrifice, but also the greed and vanity associated with self-sacrifice. This painting references rituals of the Aztec queens who engaged in blood-letting by pulling a studded rope through her tongue and burning blood-soaked pieces of paper. They did this as an offering to the gods, so that their sons could become great rulers. I see this self-sacrificing mentality envelope women specifically in many different cultures and in different mediums. Through these paintings I want to inspect my own attitudes towards the idea of what it mean in being a martyr as well as look at maternal tendencies and the vicious cycles that create an anxiety and negativity circling the pathology that I call the "Martyr syndrome". My process involves a collage of imagery from memories, imagination, provoked ideas and contemporary media. My goal is to make viewers have the inclination to laugh while feeling disgusted at the same time.
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