Boobs, Breasts and Tits: Socially Conscious Cancer Survivor Fights Back With Body, Mind and Art

"Front Nipples" by Thedra Cullar-Ledford from "Drawing the Eye to Nothingness" exhibit at G Gallery
"Front Nipples" by Thedra Cullar-Ledford from "Drawing the Eye to Nothingness" exhibit at G Gallery
Photo by Stephen Cullar-Ledford

Upon receiving a diagnosis of invasive breast cancer, as 1 of every 8 women in the United States will, it is natural to want to fight the disease with every arsenal in the medical toolbox. Thedra Cullar-Ledford, in her Drawing the Eye to Nothingness exhibit at G Gallery, has launched a full-scale attack against what she refers to as tit cancer, but her weapons of choice are her body, her mind and her creativity.

Incorporating images of the breast in all of its incarnations - sustenance for the infant, object of lust, or tissue on the operating table - survivor Cullar-Ledford's message is more than just cancer awareness; she also wants to educate survivors that post-mastectomy reconstruction surgery is not mandatory.

On opening night, visitors were able to explore the inner workings of an inflatable human breast, eat boob-shaped cupcakes, slice into the mounded ends of watermelons with a saw, or receive a free exam through a mobile mammography truck. For the ultimate in theatrical performance, an amazingly beautiful young woman, a breast cancer survivor wearing black tights and a pink tutu, removed her shirt and attacked an over-sized double-boob piñata with a pink stick. The contents which spilled onto the floor included pink candies with the words "Fuck Cancer!" hand-inscribed on the wrappers and pink-ribbon-adorned transcripts from those who have chosen to go flat; see the "Flat and Fabulous" Facebook Group.

When an artist is as prolific as Cullar-Ledford, it is difficult for every piece to be outstanding, but one cannot deny the effort or the message. The Tit Wall Installation features dozens of concave and flat metal bowls and platters, each oil-painted with pink and brown and rose-colored breasts. It's a wonderful optical illusion, appearing convex in form, and a fitting tribute to the unique individuality of women.

"Tit Wall Installation" by Thedra Cullar-Ledford from "Drawing the Eye to Nothingness" exhibit at G Gallery
"Tit Wall Installation" by Thedra Cullar-Ledford from "Drawing the Eye to Nothingness" exhibit at G Gallery
Photo by Stephen Cullar-Ledford

Her Kitchen Performance, a series of 10 photographs in collaboration with Everett Tassevigen, is a witty and artful photo-journal of a gin-infused mid-century housewife who bakes and frosts tit cakes in varied states of undress, ultimately re-enacting the surgeon's work in a smeared frosting fishnet-stocking state of ecstasy. Women over 40 will appreciate the uncomfortable parallel as Cullar-Ledford's housewife presses her breast flat in a Suzy Homemaker oven door.

Her large-scale paintings also are powerful, especially FU Pink Shit, a montage of three smaller photos of the aforementioned tit cake, knife and fishnet hosiery, a painting of two very fresh surgical scars, and the angry graffiti words "Fuck Cancer" and "Pink Shit" interspersed with scissors, cut lines, arrows and x-marks. Similarly effective is Suck My Tits with the word "Suck" so loud it explodes off the canvas, and an angry X blotting out the word "Cancer."

There is much more to see at this exhibit, including barrel tops with canvas centers, a video through the door of a Suzy Homemaker oven (not working on opening night), a parachute boob that inflates and deflates out of a hope chest, and painted breasts on mirrors (especially effective when positioned at chest height).

Drawing the Eye to Nothingness continues through April 28, at G Gallery, 301 East 11th, open Wednesday to Sunday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., 713-869-4770 or ggalleryhouston.com.


Sponsor Content

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send:

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >