Oscar Wilde famously said “Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.” Erica Podwoiski is a Boulder Colorado based, classically trained artist who focuses on power play dynamics in her erotic, boundary-pushing practice. Podwoiski’s undergrad was spent at the Bauhaus principle approved Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio and later on moved to Boulder to pursue her Master of Fine Art degree at the University of Colorado. Boulder was an ideal landing place for Podwoiski as she was in the midst of a series focusing on cannabis and caregivers. Podwoiski’s method and material has shifted over the course of her career, however her original subject matter remains true; sensuality, empathy, and power.
“Like many American women, I grew up internalizing mixed messages from mass media and struggled to define beauty on my own terms. While I’m wary of consumer culture and narrow definitions of beauty, I’m also a willing participant in many appearance-oriented rituals. The inner conflicts induced by these influences served as an impetus for my earlier paintings, which explored notions of female self-empowerment in the digital realm. My undergraduate thesis show was a visual exploration of women and
girls on social networking websites, titled “pc4pc”. This was 2010, and I was eager to highlight the impacts of mass media, advertising, and mainstream pornography on cultural perceptions of beauty and women’s relationships to their own bodies. [Throughout my practice my] paintings and drawings embrace both the sensual and the abject aspects of the body. By asserting ownership of my body within my images, I aim to open up conversations around the representation of women and sexuality in contemporary American culture. The figures in my art leer back at the viewer, seek pleasure without shame, and rage against the demure.”