‘That is not my responsibility to make people feel comfortable.’
“Her Rage makes people feel uncomfortable.....
Her Rage must be held in silence.....
Her Rage must be softened with other words....
Her Rage must not exist....
They will not be able to handle the honesty….
They will feel upset….
They expect obedience and silence
I will not soften my words for your comfort
I will not be held silent
My Rage will exist without apology”
Those are the words of local artist Cassandra Buck on her new 10-piece series, “Am I making you feel uncomfortable?”
“Each piece was created around the idea that when women are upset or want to express that they are upset about something or angry, we tend to sugarcoat things to make people not feel uncomfortable,” Buck said. “I was noticing, as I’ve gotten older and into my 30s, that I was doing that. I wanted to create a series based on that.”
The series happened rather quickly. Buck began work on it in December — her first post on Instagram announcing the new series went up on Dec. 15 and less than two weeks later, a glimpse of the first piece was posted.
“It was very fast and intuitive,” Buck said of her process.
At the beginning of February, nine of the 10 paintings were put on exhibit at the Gallery 24 space inside of Forager Brewery.
Using a wide range of colors, the abstract pieces each represent a time Buck said she was angry or upset and didn’t express herself fully, “like a man would.”
“If I express a feeling about something, it is going to make someone feel uncomfortable,” Buck said. “That is not my responsibility to make people feel comfortable.”
Buck isn’t alone in highlighting the expression of women’s anger. Numerous books have been published on the topic in recent months. Women have also taken to the streets and run for elected office (and been elected, too) in record numbers.
Buck said that women are often held to a higher standard when it comes to expressing their feelings when when they do, they can be seen as ‘bitchy’ or ‘shrill.’ There are more negative feelings toward women, she said, if they express negative emotions.
Even while expressing her rage through art, Buck sugarcoats some of those feelings. In some of her pieces, pink is prominent, comparing the color to trying to laugh something off. In another piece, she physically softened the feeling with blue paint, but bits of red paint, anger, still show through.
“Some of them, I’m more like, ‘I’m done sugarcoating it. I’m just going to say it like it is,’” she said. “One has some black oil, really thick, kind of stripes throughout the piece and then it’s DayGlo neon colors underneath. That’s kind of like, I’m going to say it like it is, I’m not going to worry about making people feel a certain way.”
Buck doesn’t only do that through her paintings. In her conversation with 507, Buck acknowledged that not everyone is going to agree with what she says.
“People might not like that I say this, but since Trump has been elected, I have felt like an awakening within my artistic self that I need to express these things,” she said. “With all that is going on politically, this is very true to me. ... I am angry. I’m going to express it.”
“I’ve always expressed myself through art — whether sadness, happy, anger,” Buck continued. “I am just vocalizing it now and putting a name to it.”