Maria Spector

photograph by Orestes Gonzalez


Violence against girls is made acceptable by how we stereotype girls. If I say a girl is a witch, she is worthy of destruction. If I say a girl is a princess, she is worthy of protection. In judgment, I ask, "are you a good witch or a bad witch?" or "are you a good girl or a bad girl?" and it is my answer and your answer that can justify violence. As girls develop into women, they grow from good to bad and are punished for growing up, growing breasts, growing desire. The works from my recent "Shadow of Girlhood" and "I’m a Girl" series are meant to be intimate and finely painted, as that is the province of my feminine work. I want to make beautiful work but I don't live in a beautiful world. When I paint, I am trying to reconcile violence and compassion. I use fine sable brushes and each face is smaller then my fingerprint. It is in the details and the small where I find beauty and the voices of girls. In many of these works, I bring back to life the potential visage of my dead daughter. I can bring her to life as a witch, a princess, an animal or even a femme fatale. She can be pretty or she can by ugly. Her end was a kind of violence, her memory a future unlived. Her potential invades my work as I try to find the lost girl.