Marie Mason Painting: A Gender Triptych

From Marie,

“So these three paintings go together as a triptych.  It’s a short meditation on gender as biology or social construct.


The first panel is “Female” with an ovary bursting an egg towards an animated fallopian tube.  The figure (both male and female loosely based on DaVinci’s Vitruvian figure) is small but breaking past the barrier of the enclosing symbol for the female.  She gestures towards the Queen bee.  The three genders of honey bees: Queen (female), Drone (male) and worker are also included as a reference to gender fluidity in Nature.  Thought about using sea slugs; but they are hermaphrodites, I think, so that’s different.  Very pretty creatures though.  The womb surrounds and seems to overwhelm the female figure in reference to women’s history of being defined and confined and controlled by her biological capacity to bear children.

A painting exploring the male construct.

The second panel is “Male.”  Clearly the male is shown superior to his biology, being raised above both the testicle/seminal tube and swimming sperm.  The male figure gestures to the drone bee, fills and extends beyond the confines, of the defining symbol of the male.  I’ve changed it to a square to emphasize the outer boundary of the Vitruvian figure drawing (the square), rather than the one that touches the figure.  Also, the angular aspect for the male (and rounder for the female) conform to current stereotypes and values associated with male and female.  Oh yes, and both Male and Female panels use purple on one side of their background, the idea being that red and blue are primary colors and purple is a secondary color formed by mixing of the two (and red being considered more female, blue being a male identifier).


The third panel takes the third primary color, yellow, to invent a trans symbol superimposed over modified male/female symbols.  The figures in gold are trans individuals (boi to the left, womyn to the right).

The cells in this panel are blood cells and dendrites- as clearly all humans share these.  The worker bees have left the hive and accompany the figures.  The backgrounds are formed by the primary color yellow and blue or red to form a blend of secondary colors to suggest masculinity or femininity as social cues, like the figures’ manner of dress.