Jessica Leonard is a Dublin-based artist, predominantly working with mixed media installation. Her current focus is on exploring her experiences with being a plus size women in modern society and she addresses a range of issues, such as attitudes towards weight, wearing skirts in public and walking home alone at night. She has exhibited in the IADT student shows Perceived Dimensions (Irish Museum of Modern Art, 2018) and In the making: High Heart (Pallas Projects/Studios, 2021).
My project analyses the experience of being a woman in contemporary society. I have grappled with uncomfortable body feelings and how plus size women are portrayed throughout all forms of media today. The insecurities that are produced by current beauty standards, or by the menstrual cycle, should not hinder how women express their emotions. I draw upon my own experiences to make works that incorporate elements of drawing, painting and paper-cutting. My work illustrates the reality of going through a menstrual cycle and focuses on true feelings, in contrast to the representations found in advertising. Periods are painful, uncomfortable and among the most natural thing in the world. The purpose of this project is to open a more realistic conversation about women’s life experiences, which are nothing to be secretive about and should not require confusing metaphors.