(Fe)Male Gaze painting by essie somma page header

Paintings by Essie Somma


Daydreaming detaches us from the present, directing our attention inward. Daydreams can be fantasies, inquiries, or meditations.

They are rarely, if ever, bound to a rational narrative. Much like our lives, they are not linear. The more I consider them a creative tool, the more sense they make in relation to our reality.

We bounce from place to place, person to person, and feeling to feeling. The only common thread in our “personal narrative” being the existence of ourselves in each moment we experience.

Not all daydreams take us somewhere new.
They can be of opinionated conversations, rehashing of memories, or jumbled scenes of our past, present, and future. Whatever the case, they mirror the irrationality of the world we live in. All daydreams are born of and explore an idea, inviting us to become comfortable with their subject.


In the same way photographs evoke truth-to-reality, an intellectual understanding of human behavior strengthens the efficacy of cultural critique. By visually and theoretically picking apart what makes us human, we are able to fuel empathy with logic.
As an ethnographic study, [un]Learning explores cultural and ideological trends in female culture. Focusing on complexity and power, the work provides a space for new understanding and acceptance.​

[un]Learning examines the unspoken tendencies, practices, emotions, and assumptions of contemporary women.

Viewing cultural phenomena through the self allows for an intimate investigation of the human condition. By recontextualizing familiar images, the artist forces viewers to discover new ways of thinking. The work utilizes aesthetics and humor to present personal perspectives on societal forces that shape womens’ relationships with the world.