“Soliloquy” contemplates the ebb and flow of existence. Reflecting on personal events from my recent past informs the art, such as loss of relationships and death of a sibling, illness and medical intervention, caregiving and restorative mending. An individual’s response to life is a human response, the personal is socio-political.
A few objects in the installation “Soliloquy” are pieces from the past that are re-contextualized, examining my art practice and how life fragments are carried forward but conceptually altered. Objects in close proximity create multi-layered interpretations, similar to words in literature. Melding the two create a contemporary discourse or visual poem.
Dictionaries and encyclopedias are reference books, containing factual information through text, definitions and visual imagery. Society’s definition of “truth” is based on existing knowledge relevant to a particular time period. Words fluctuate in meaning. Images are redrawn. The early 20th century dictionaries on which the drawings or interventionist activities are executed embody a nostalgic, romantic quality. A specific word or image on the page is a catalyst for my interventions. Social commentary has a historic tradition and association with books, and thus the drawings continue to expand on that heritage
"Hence thou mayst comprehend that love must be the seed within yourselves of every virtue, and every act that merits punishment"
Dante, Purgatorio, canto XVII-17.
Mrs. Ms. & Passive Passion
My grandmothers taught me how to embroider. Using hair instead of thread references Victorian hair jewelry and corsages, created as love tokens or objects of memorialization, as in “Passive Passion.” “Mrs. Ms.” uses a vintage family pillowcase made by a female ancestor, probably as a wedding present. After removing the “r”, I mended the tears with hair; I sometimes use my own. Absence is indicated, family perspectives inherently embedded. The lineage of activity, not just object, is of interest and importance to me.
My love book memorializes my parents’ love. When my father was stationed in Egypt in 1948, he sent my mother a pair of exquisite earrings, with a note written on the bottom of the box stating: “both sets are hand carved ivory. I hope you like them. Jack”. The front of the book is cast from the impressions of the moth earrings, and the back is of the clips. The marble appearance and weight of the worn book communicates their long marriage together til death, and acts also as a “memento mori”, provoking a memory that provides solace, as well as being a contemplative reminder of our own mortality.
Mutual respect is the major component for a successful public art project. For everyone involved -- the architect, landscape architect, project manager, public art staff, citizens, artists, construction crew, maintenance workers, respect creates understanding of a variety of perspectives and acknowledges the importance of the involvement of each individual. The collaborative activity of conversation and observation can only achieve a worthy exchange of ideas and solution of problems if listening is an equal part of the process. Knowledge and sensitivity provide the basis for quality. As concepts evolve, visual communication is equally important to create a full comprehension of the scope of work and physical realization of what we know as public art.
Referencing small devotional books used daily and as yearly calendars of spiritual practice, the installation “Book of Hours: Intervention” meditates on medical intrusions of the body to heal an illness. Each “book” is unique containing a relief of an object used in an “intervention” of the flesh or mind, or ones used in requesting an “intercession” from the universe, or those that provoke a memory providing solace. Objects include, for example, a needle, IV regulator, religious medallion, drugs, swab, bottle lid, key. In others, the book pages are manipulated to indicate the effects time has on the natural world. The white marble appearance speaks to memorialization of the individual, of medical procedures, of simple objects one contemplates visually and uses daily. The books are a collective experience; life is woven from our sensory encounters with objects, making them valued. Book of Hours acts also as a “memento mori”, a contemplative reminder of our own mortality.