In high school, there were always the Popular Kids -- the admired, the Beautiful People, the ones people wanted to be (or at least be next to). The same thing seems to happen in Art -- there are pieces that everybody likes. In this current body of work, it's the X-Ray piece I posted on January 16. It got 500 pageviews, and almost everybody who wrote back to me after the recent series of posts referenced that one in particular: "I love the X-ray pieces;" "I love the Xray pieces. Probably drawn by all my nursing history;" "The xrays are quite wonderful in a peculiar way, the kind of thing that is both compelling and unsettling;" "The x-ray piece might be my favorite on that whole page"... you see what I mean.
So here's the second piece in this group. Thanks to Chris Jeffrey at SPA for letting me use his glass-cutting tools.
The figures are moving in a new direction. One morning I was out jogging and found a torn piece of a Posting sign, brought it to the studio, and made this piece. I tried to find some old barbed wire, but couldn't, so I created my own. I love this figure, spreading its arms to delineate and guard its private space. The head is a porcelain insulator.
Several of the new pieces have elements made with wire wrapped around grasses and sticks.
And a new bird, a heron who joins the earlier flock. I liked the more graceful, rounded form of several of the new pieces, and am moving away from the blocky wooden pieces for awhile.
About five years ago I bought three metal cases of glass and paper slides at a yard sale, clearly used by a physican as teaching slides. The glass slides, each about 3x4 inches, are all of x-rays and thin sections of tissue, and may date to the1940's. I was particularly drawn to the chest x-rays, as images of a human torso, and ones that record damage, disease, and its attendant anxiety.
I am making several figures that incorporate these slides in a small box I've built. I cut the slide down to 3" tall x about 2.5" wide, backed it with mylar, and installed a flickering LED candle, to make the chest appear to pulsate, as with a beating heart.
The arms and headcovering are cloth, with plaster bandage over wire on the legs.
This video shows the effect of the flickering light:
Another group of parade participants is finished. There are about 20 now.
There is a group with statements on their backs. They appear to be a group of animals and a group of people (who have heads composed of small people and arms made of forks and spoons).
These are the fronts:
These are the backs:
Also new is a group of figures made with beef ribs, chicken bones, and small bones carved into images of skulls. I think of these as Angels of Extinction, and I think they will be calling some of the animals and people away.
I am imagining that as more and more figures join the parade, there will begin to be interactions among the participants, such as the "calling away" I spoke of above.
I am working on a group that uses antique glass x-rays that are very interesting.
I am drawn to the image and metaphor (though not the reality, for the most part...) of parades, processions, marches and all things with multiple characters moving along a trajectory, striding, staggering, and stumbling along a path. Two years ago I installed a parade of much of my three-dimensional work called All Aboard, and four years ago I tried to get going on a project called We Are an Army, that would have women all around the world make images of themselves for a group installation. I have proposed this several times to different funders and institutions, without any interest, but now I am really committed to making it happen.
The characters I'm making in the studio are up to around 24" high, animals and people and "gods" in various combinations. Much of the time I'm thinking about the loss of species on the planet and the way that we humans are fouling the planet and gobbling up resources, making things bad for our own species and worse for others. Here are the first photos I made last week; there are now more than twice as many pieces, and they are beginning to interact more.
I'll post some additional images in the coming week.