Over The Fence 02

Christine Vista
3rd year, Art Education Major
Over the Fence (series)
Photographs and collage
8.5″ x 11″

Fences are strange, they are butchered trees, stuck back into the ground and made to stand among nature as if they were still alive.
Fences are absurd, they are artificial boundaries, made for the privacy of the people living within their enclosed spaces yet they have gaps wide enough to look into.
Fences are bizarre, they are one of the things we all have in common that divide us. Yet why do we see them as such a necessity, even though they are objects that contradict themselves?

Over the Fence 01
Over The Fence 03

I was in the backyard, finishing an erotic painting for a studio class when I had to retreat back into my house after hearing my neighbour’s door open. I was fearful of their gaze, and the invasion of privacy. After telling my friends this story, I found out that I’m not alone when it comes to awkward experiences with neighbours. Seeing neighbours through their fences is really weird, locking eyes with them, even more. I’m not the only one who looks out the window to make sure their neighbours aren’t there before going outside. Avoiding neighbours is something we might have in common, other than fences.

In this work, the fences around my house become the settings of certain all too familiar narratives, wherein images of bathing or naked women are juxtaposed with “onlookers” to represent something more than the merely ‘awkward.’ Here, viewers transgress the privacy afforded by the fence, raising questions about voyeurism and sexual violence. Using photography and collage, this work presents fences as a metaphor for proximity, secrecy, distance, privacy, and contradiction.