The title of the show references the site of the Boudoir. From the French verb bouder, to sulk or pout, the Boudoir was the first private domestic space designated specifically for women. Originally a space for women to retire, the 18th Century Boudoir became opulent, stuffed, and saturated with sexuality, both eroticizing and fetishizing female privacy as well as the feminine form. In 1753, the architect Nicolas Le Camus described how design can arouse physical sensations and instructed the boudoir to have a day-bed. The Boudoir became a place for women to recline in a pose of submission, it was a site for the convergence of pleasure and power.
The group of sculptures featured in Boudoir Theatre stand revealing and assertive, their figurative and anthropomorphic qualities playing with notions of sensuality and the feminine association of ornamentation, design, and haute couture. Each featured sculpture owns their sexuality and is ready to perform. Their posture subverting the historical tale of the woman succumbing to seduction. Some are split open, like a lady who has dropped her undergarments, others have pinned up fabric revealing knobby knees, and many visually imply an invitation for the viewer to look up the skirt. Each sculpture comprises a wooden frame and is dressed in sewn canvas. Intricate grid patterns, ribbed and cinched material, and bulging cushion-like masses are meticulously hand-stitched over unconventional wooden structures. Simultaneously suggestive of bedding, vanities, corsets, and human anatomy, Butowicz’s artwork exudes a carnal audacity which openly defies the disdain, fear, and repression frequently imposed upon feminine artforms, spaces, and bodies.
Butowicz’s color palette of reds, magentas, acidic greens, and bright blues, reminiscent of vintage caricatures and illustrated fashion plates, asks the viewer to see the canvas draped over skeletal wooden frames as costumed figures.The lively theatricality and ribaldry found in her sculptural works demonstrate the performative nature of gender, the sexualization and Othering of both ornamentation and domesticity, and the power structures that lie behind this marginalization.