Sunday, October 3, 2010

Work In Progress: Identity

Sometimes pieces come together quickly, almost as if they need to be made.  Other pieces are slow, with creation processes that seem to take years.  My piece for the Connecticut SAQA Identity exhibit which will be hung in Windsor early next year is one of those slow pieces.

I am Sorry...  detail
I started the piece about three years ago when my sister was undergoing treatment for breast cancer and I was having a hard time accepting her illness.  It seemed like so much of what shaped her identity was being chemically and surgically changed.  Her skin was burned and scarred, her hair was gone, and her face was gaunt.  My defiant, headstrong, marathon-running sister was now following orders and toeing the line.  It was hard to watch.

Not long after visiting with her when she was at her lowest, I went into my studio and pulled out some of my favorite fabric, took it outside, and started discharging the color with baths of bleach.  On a roll, I pulled several different solid black pieces from my stash and bleached them.  I spent the afternoon focused on taking away the color that made those fabrics beautiful, but was left with fabrics made even more rich and interesting by the chemicals I'd poured on them.

I Am Sorry uses those fabrics and is my response to that experience.  The way I deal with things is to try to fix them - it is part of my identity and who I am as a mother, sister, friend and spouse.  I'll cook you a meal, take care of your kids or hold your hand if you need it.  Just give me a job, and I will do it.  But sometimes, as I learned with my sister, you just have to listen, to be "sorry", and let things happen.  Accepting change, the limitations of the body, and the stillness of waiting have now become part of my identity, too.

Show Details:  Identity, Curated by Kate Themel
Date:  January 22-March 11, 2011
Location:  Windsor Art Center Gallery (The Freight House)
                  40 Mechanics Street, Windsor, CT

1 comment:

Ruth Anne Olson said...

You description of how this was made and what it means is very moving. I relate to your wanting to be the fixer, even when things are out of your hands.

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