While collecting snapshots of various textures I sometimes discover what I like to call 'found-scapes'. This is a loose term to include any image that reveals the abstraction of a landscape. Layers of strata, variegated striations or the hint of a distant horizon. Some are discovered on the side of a dirty dumpster or realized by my own manipulation of objects in the studio.
For the last few weeks I've been chipping away at a big project that I've put off for
months years. I'm building myself a website! Many hours have been spent toiling in the vortex of Photoshop. The tedium of converting old-school 35mm slides (from those pre digital camera days) into legible imagery has almost gotten the best of me. I still have a ways to go but want you to know I've been up to something. And....you can always find me here.
A few things of recent interest to me from the interwebs and beyond (ie, I read this & looked at that):
Two women who want to change the way we die.
Loving this comic book scrapbook.
Sometimes I arrive at the end stage of a piece and grieve its raw beginnings. The initial sketch of a form is a pure thing. There are no layers invested in its being. It is a skeleton without flesh. Tactile with its lumps and bulges I wonder if I should embrace its incompleteness and let it live as is. Only I can see its fleshy future.
Lately I've been contemplating the reverse side of textiles and other threaded things. Their backsides are oftentimes more interesting than the side that's intended for displayed. The process of dissecting a quilt, removing a needlepoint from its frame or seam-ripping open a pillow to divulge its secrets is revealing. By examining the interiors we learn much about the maker. We find beauty residing in the nests of threads, knots and abstraction of the intended work. These marks are what make the piece succeed and where its truth lies. I often find myself returning to my own work to relish the marks I've left behind.
crewelwork sampler that hangs in my studio.
Stitches and knots inside a patchwork pillow.book skin quilts.
I'm continuing to explore the tethered relationship between two forms (ie, sculpture-on-a-rope). A dual male/female shape and its sperm-like offspring. The two shapes in this piece can physically nest together or dangle in a playful dance. I've been thinking about familial fetters, from the umbilical cord to both seen and unseen traits that bind us once that visible tie is severed.
Before the days of debit cards the coin purse was a necessary item. Today there are a plethora of these kisslock pockets floating around in flea markets on and off-line. After soliciting friends on social media to assist me in gathering coin purses for this project I got down to business. The purses were cleaned (as needed!) and each one turned inside out. They are made of a variety of fabrics and leather. Some with one layer, others with multiple layers of fabric. I assess each one carefully and after a few pinches, tucks, folds and stitches I say voilà.....a vulva!
Putting images of these transformed coin purses into the world triggers an informative boomerang of ideas, inferred meaning and of course....chuckles. As a collection of objects these coin purses are interesting; as vaginas, they are evocative. I think it was Eva Hesse who said that she used repetition in her art because it recalled the absurdity of life. By eliciting a few changes from a simple object and exaggerating the effect with a grouping of the same, singular but unique objects, I've created a preposterous family of genitalia that speak their own mind.
Are they a simple statement on the variety of vulvae or a call to action against the horrific act of female genital mutilation? Do they comment on the parallel relationship of money and sex, prostitution or the porn industry? How about the age-old ideal of a women's place being solely in the home, subservient to men, caring for home and family?
I debated back and forth on whether to dub these transformed purses as 'coin cunts'. I love words, idioms and word pairings and refer to my dictionary often. The word cunt is marked with a 'usage alert' as a vulgar slang and its use is highly taboo in our society. It is a succinct word, it bites and it has baggage. But it is one of those words that truly embodies its meaning....the entirety of the female genitalia....the cunt. All this to say that no other phrase or word seemed to fit this collective grouping better than 'coin cunts.'
Thank you to all of you who've supported this project so far by sending purses. If you happen to have any spare kisslock coin purses sitting around in your junk drawer I would love to add them to this collection. I'm particularly looking for ones with colorful purse linings. In fact, I received one with a brilliant red interior as I was photographing the collection for this post. You can contact me here for shipping details. I plan to continue adding purses over the next few months until the proper time and place for their exhibition transpires.