Now that my solo show is officially completed, I can focus my attention on making new art. And my first piece is a commission. As I prepare to make this painting, I have first created a color sketch. I will send this mini version of the painting and palette to the clients for their approval:
The pieces for my show at Galleri Urbane opening on May 13, 2017 were picked up for the art shuttle to Dallas. Here are some pictures of the shippers:
It was a thrill to see my work being loaded on the truck. This has been a dream a long time in the making but really it’s the years of hard work that have led to this show.
The original inception for the chair installation began the night I called the police during a domestic violence incident in my home. I based the fabric design on the violent outburst of when my ex grabbed me while screaming and yelling in front of our children. Making my story public brought out words of sympathy and an understanding from other women I had not anticipated. And this began the journey to design fabric for other women. My fabric was illustrated with the help of a RISD classmate:
A few of these women shared their own abuse with me and agreed to tell their stories as an addition to my own. One woman called “Abby” and I designed a fabric with a photograph of a tree rendered in a mirror image to create a repeated pattern. While she ended a 20 year relationship with her husband who raged against her and her children with brutish behavior, she wanted to go back to her initial abuse as a child suffered at the hands of her adopted brother. Due to her extreme athleticism, she was able to escape her brother by climbing a giant tree, now felled, outside her childhood home. In going back to her abuse before her marriage, she establishes the roots of that abuse and how it endured through her subsequent relationships. The chairs explore the idea that the pattern of abuse and succumbing to bullies begins in childhood for some victims and once established, is very hard to break. Abuse victims are unfamiliar with a pattern of a loving and supportive relationships and have been programmed to appease the bullies instead of standing up to them.
The second victim I worked with had to break from a man she really loved who was made ill by alcoholism. She asked that her name not be revealed and so she is identified by the letter “Y”. Describing a loving man made mad by drinking, she found herself standing between her husband and their three children as this tornado of rage spiraled out of control. We settled on imagery which included this tornado and the liquor bottles he used to consume. This fabric design was then rendered in a 50’s style of imagery as an ironic juxtaposition between the happy, gay iconic imagery of fun parties and summer nights filled with martinis and poodles against the dark reality of extreme illness. She asked that I upholster the fabric on chairs that looked awkward and uncomfortable to sit on. This fabric was also a collaboration with a RISD classmate, now RISD professor, Forrest Curl.
The last set of chairs is about a woman called “Melanie” who was violently sexually abused by her former boyfriend. What she described initially as consensual sex play, turned into a violent pattern of appeasement. She asked that the fabric be composed with red and black and upholstered on wing back chairs.
After many years of healing and therapy and now in a happy, healthy marriage to another man, I became the model to tell her story of pain. We discussed using photographic image of a woman naked, curled up in a ball. A fetal-like pose was the best way she felt she could convey her attempt to comfort herself after each episode of abuse. She imagined she could curl up in one of the chairs with the sides shielding her. This fabric was designed with help, talent and skill of photographer Ted Thornton.
My last post was a message to my stalkers. Usually there is one view of my blog a day from my ex’s family in Macedonia. But my last post generated a flurry of hits like roaches scattering at the flick of a light switch. These were people I considered family. To the woman whose son I gave $75,000 to buy and open his own make-up store, I received an email telling me I was going to hell. This after she told me she was going to wash my feet in gratitude for everything I had done for her and her son. Her son, my ex’s nephew, was so overwhelmed by my generosity that he cried as he thanked me and wanted to name the store “Marion”. My thought was how could I not help my nephew after I saw that his only job was selling gum and cigarettes out of an open kiosk in the snow? But I’m glad that store still stands. And it will always stand as a reminder that I am not the horrible person my ex has convinced his family I am. My ex’s sister was right about something: I have been to hell and now I’m living in a purgatory of my ex’s making. The roaches may never go away but I know where they hide and I’m not afraid of bugs.
This Month’s Music: Little Dragon