Transcendent – Edie Irwin
Edie Irwin – they/he/she
Before creating this piece, I had some words cut out of an article about memory and memory loss, which I intended to use in a piece reflecting on myself and growing up. I used some of those words (“even if she does not recognize herself”) in the upper half of the work, in conjunction with words found in an article about a woman whose photography investigates masculinity, to talk about how for me femininity and being a woman felt like a role I was playing, albeit not particularly well. In the middle and lower half, I used words from the same photography article to show the inner turmoil I (and many others) feel over the complexities of gender, in particular the confusion of “do I want to date that person or do I want to be them”? The words running along the side are about how I’ve come to realize that I do not exist within one of two things (man or woman), but rather fluctuating between, or experiencing both and neither at once. I included “you don’t know yourself” and “who am I? what am I?” as a way to express how I don’t feel like I really know myself, and don’t feel like I ever will. Initially I chose the background because I thought it was pretty, but as I worked on this piece I realized that it slowly transitions from pinky purple (a traditionally feminine color) to angular blue and green (traditionally masculine associated shapes and colors). In hindsight, I think I was also drawn to the image of hair, since it is something that is very important to a lot of people’s genders, and because I was thinking a lot about my hair at the time of creation (I had my friend cut it short the day after making this.) In the bottom left corner, I used the image of a woman with a measuring tape to incorporate my struggles with an eating disorder (like many trans people), born out of a desire to change how I look, both gender-wise and because society hates fat people. Even now, although I consider myself to be mostly handling those thoughts well, I do yearn for the androgyny that being skinnier and thus having a more angular face and small curves gave me. I included the frame because it reminds me of breaking out of both those unhealthy patterns, and the molds that society has set for how gender should look. In the lower left corner, I have the words “some girls are boys,” because I’ve found that to be the best descriptor of my gender. It also represents how I, simply by existing, am breaking the boundaries between boy and girl, gender and presentation, and how bodies should look.
Edie is a sophomore studying mathematics at Agnes Scott College. Originally from Chapel Hill, NC, they have always had a love for the arts, both as an observer and a creator. Throughout his life, he has dabbled in many mediums and methods of crafting. Recently, Edie has been creating collage artworks, enjoying the process of creating something new from the pieces of something old.