Thursday, January 30, 2014

Guard Dog 2008

Sanctuary: in its original meaning, is a sacred place, such as a shrine. By the use of such places as a safe haven, by extension the term has come to be used for any place of safety. This secondary use can be categorized into human sanctuary, a safe place for humans, such as a political sanctuary; and non-human sanctuary, such as an animal or plant sanctuary. Wikipedia

Late this morning, Fernando Delgado, a photographer here in Albuquerque, made a studio visit so that we could select work for a show that he is both curating and participating in called "Sanctuary", to be exhibited at the South Broadway Cultural Center in Albuquerque in April of this year.  He left with the understanding that I would select  work I thought appropriate to fit the definition of the show.  He made it clear that the definition was very broad.  However, after looking through my work, I realized that there was no sanctuary, or place of safety in any of the work I do, in fact, it's the complete opposite.  I could find lots of examples of unsafe places, but no "sanctuaries". Throughout the day, as I communicated back and forth with Fernando via email, we both came to the same conclusion:  my work, my studio, what I do, is my sanctuary.  With this in mind I decided the work that I would give to Fernando would be all self-portraits.  I knew that Guard Dog had to be included.  Not only is it a self-portrait, it's the me that's defending and protecting the very sanctuary that we are talking about.  Stay tuned, more to come, as I find and choose the self portraits to go to Fernando's exhibit. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Girl with Crows 2014

I'm here at Anderson Ranch Snowmass Colorado teaching a three week immersive.  I thought I would use this collage as a didactic teaching tool for my students since I had spent the better part of the morning trying to find the perfect legs for the girl. Nothing would quite work, but I did finally find the right pair of legs, interestingly, one of the firsts pairs I had down but then I flipped them so the top was the bottom. I cleaned up my table  and organized the pairs of legs to show my students how many legs it took to find the right pair. I wanted them to see how difficult it can be to find the perfect elements to make the image really work. Of course, being obsessive helps.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Mother and Daughter 1998

Nothing ever changed my life quite as much as giving birth to a baby girl in 1987.  I'd been worried about the kind of mother I would be, and had put off getting pregnant until I was 35, and even then I just wasn't sure of what I was getting myself into.  But not to worry, one look at my black haired baby daughter and I was smitten.  Hook line and sinker, I was hers.

What I didn't know was that being a mother means that you automatically become an official grown up, no matter the age and it was obvious that I didn't quite get this part of being a mom.  Lipstick that isn't applied quite right, a too small, old lady purse, and giant black bosoms as if I had spent my life on a farm in Nebraska.  And of course, tiny, impractical high heels that can't really support the large bulk of a grown up mother-body.  However,  it's clear that this goofy "grown up" mother cherishes  the daughter standing next to her, and that the daughter, with her odd plaid outfit and little legs, understands that she is deeply loved. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Man with Snake on His Head 1991

Both my husband's and my parents are in their mid 80's. One parent is doing pretty well, and  the others are experiencing different degrees of physical difficulty in their lives.  Each time the phone rings, we expect a medical emergency of some kind--or worse.  What I wasn't expecting was a call from a good friend a few weeks ago to tell  me he had cancer.  He'd had surgery, and was getting ready to start chemo and radiation-the full Monty.  He is a few years older than I am, never smoked, not a drinker, and has lived a  healthy lifestyle.  His cancer is in his throat, so the radiation will make it hard for him to swallow over the six weeks of his treatment, making eating and drinking extremely difficult.

"Man with Snake on His Head" shows the snake being both part of the man, but then not, and it's not clear if the snake is going to be swallowed by the man, or if the man is resisting, ready to bite the snake's tounge and head if he comes any closer.  It's important that the man not let the snake back in. He has to keep the snake at bay, no matter what it takes, even if it means biting the snake's head off.