Skin / 2008
Ruth Frankenberg, in The Social Construction of Whiteness: White Women, Race Matters, captures the need for white people to identify and scrutinize whiteness. She writes, “It may be more difficult for white people to say ‘Whiteness has nothing to do with me - I’m not white,’ than to say ‘Race has nothing to do with me - I’m not a racist.” To speak of whiteness is…to assign everyone a place in the relations of racism.” My series on flesh tones reveals that the standard tone suggests a lighter than darker value, a Caucasian bias, while simultaneously revealing diversity within commercial efforts to identify a universal. Ultimately, I want to acknowledge the complexity of whiteness as one of the many, not the universal, natural, standard or norm, as a way of further acknowledging and celebrating difference.
I see the work as being in conversation with Byron Kim’s Synecdoche in that we both reference issues of social justice through reductive efforts.