I was raised by storytellers. An important story of my family’s survival is that my great grandmother — with whom I was close as a child — was raised in a house of prostitution during the Great Depression; her mother was the madam. At a young age, I thought of the body as a commodity. With clay, I’m able to edit and shape the narrative. I push against the concept of the ideal body as it is shown in sculpture through history and throughout a lifetime, especially given that, in our culture, the ideal body seems to be the only one that is truly authorized. Even for the ideal female body, that authorization comes from those in power, rarely from the woman herself.
Truncation is a theme in my work; this too might come from family stories. My great grandfather was a double amputee from World War II. Truncation in art raises questions — what does society want to see; what does it hide and excise; how does truncation reveal how women’s bodies are discussed in parts and pieces? The interpretation can be seen as what’s lost, what’s there but unseen, or as what’s been taken. The lens can be our culture’s or the woman’s own — what she does or doesn’t want to be seen or exposed.
We are living in a world that has always had a class system, a society that loves some bodies and devalues others. We are people who all possess biases. There are huge disparities in terms of privilege when it comes to race, gender identity, nationality, sexual orientation, and ability. I am struck by the idea that the body that you are born into predetermines how you will move through the world and be treated. My personal experience, which is that of a privileged white woman, made me aware of the confines and strictures that American culture places on even the privileged female body. I create portraits of the body that reflect the world as it rises up around each of us, and each body is a commentary on the world that surrounds it.
— Phoebe Scott