Nicole O'Flynn

Artist Statement

This work takes as its starting point feminist art history theory surrounding ‘cunt art’, a movement started in the 1970’s that explored the representation of vaginas in art history and gender studies. ‘Cunt Art’ theories drawn on within this body of work allowed me to explore my own intimate knowledge and past trauma with sexual assault resulting in the installation ‘Sex is Self Harm’.

The work explores how the viewer activates and therefore unbeknownst to them participates in the voyeuristic nature of my mental torment of dealing with having being raped at 14 and again at 20 and how these experiences have resulted in my now uncomfortable relationship with sex, effecting me both physical and emotional since the aftermath of the attacks.
The installation aims to help me express my thoughts on past trauma through beautiful imagery in a confrontational manner and bring to light this hidden pain so many people’s experiences and their hidden truths. By using female voice’s in the audio, an exploration of my personal attacks are made universal and helps with breaking some of the social taboo around this issue.



Development work


“Censorship plays a key role in women’s lives. Issues of power, control, invisibility, opportunity, and access are bound up with the term ‘censorship’ and need careful consideration. These are issues that women have campaigned around for years, and yet still have a relevance for feminist cultural workers today”
– Katy Deepwell, New Feminist Art Criticism, Pg. 112.

“Women are depicted in a quite different way from men – not because the feminine is different from the masculine – but because the ‘ideal’ spectator is always assumed to be male and the image of the woman is designed to flatter him”
– John Berger, Ways of Seeing, Pg. 64.

“They celebrated that being the focus of male sexual desire is an honor unless it sullies the patriarchal bonds of honor because you are owned by another male, in which case the victim always pays the price for the crime”
– Catherine McCormack, Women in the Picture, Women, Art, and the Power of Looking, Pg. 6.

“Our visual language for women’s suffering tends to find beauty rather than injustice, in their pain and death”
– Catherine McCormack, Women in the Picture, Women, Art, and the Power of Looking, Pg. 98.

“If women’s pleasure and desire is mostly invisible in our cultural images, then sexual violence and mythological rape is hyper-visible – to the point that we no longer find it strange when we see images of it in our museums and galleries”
– Catherine McCormack, Women in the Picture, Women, Art, and the Power of Looking, Pg. 128