Saturday, January 31, 2009

Isis Raising

ISIS RAISING is an 8.5"x 9.5" composition/acrylic painting on styrofoam and paper that superimposes the myth of Isis and Osiris on a modern background: there is an upright piano and a bed painted in the niches at the bottom, and a modern-day Isis weeping just behind Isis' winged shoulder.

It is the woman-as-rescuer fantasy -- we've all tried it at least once. When Isis finds her husband Osiris cut into pieces, she tries to use her magic to put him back together and raise him from the dead. But with a vital piece missing, Osiris cannot be revived.

Osiris' spirit rising out of the papier-mache mummy is the plastic package a tube of paint came in, transparent. The hieroglyphics are real, copied from the Egyptian book of the Dead.

Monday, January 26, 2009

See Saw

SEE SAW (6.5" x 8.5") is a small composition on styrofoam, one of my first experiments with this material. It doesn't set out to say anything profound -- a little whimsical play on words and an attempt to capture movement, the picture falling off the wall and hitting the see-saw, which throws its collection of beads and broken china into the air. It sets the tone for using words and word-play as the basis for an art work. Often while I am working a phrase gets caught in my mind and I'll be embroidering on it the whole time I am composing the piece. While not ambitious, this little piece is one that fits itself in almost anywhere, and for that reason I like it.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


WHEEL is an 8" x 14" painting/assemblage in a styrofoam box -- actually, the bottom portion of the box that formed the base for Open Doors. It consists of a Wheel of Fortune in front of a figure taken from the visual tradition of alchemy -- a man with the head of the sun, stepping through the spheres into the world of time and juggling planets in his hands.
When we were growing up, we always ended up with Wheels or Wheeler-Dealer as nicknames (my brothers bore the brunt of that). This piece takes the last name to its mythological outer limit! It also juxtaposes blind fate and a figure which seems to have mastered it -- and truly, fate only goes so far in defining what happens to you, for good or ill. You also happen to it!

Sunday, January 18, 2009


SELF-PORTRAIT is an 8" x 9" painting/assemblage on a styrofoam packing piece. Contained in the profile self-portrait are partial portraits of my parents. The glasses that show up from time to time in my work all came from a time when I worked in a human services agency located down the street from a rough bar in Cambridge's Central Square. On Monday mornings I would come in to work and harvest the broken glasses from the street in front of the bar!
The large open eye is the interior eye, of course, the one that doesn't suffer from myopia or need bifocals! Intuition, the ability to see what is really going on, was something I was working on when I did this piece. You can't see it on the photo, but there is a little ledge under the eye and on it is pasted the rather mysterious quote from Scripture, "if thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light."

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Turn of the Century

TURN OF THE CENTURY is a 9" x 12" assemblage in a shadowbox. I experimented again with painting and decoupaging on the glass to give it a time-stained look. It's an attempt to create a certain kind of Victoriana -- the fabrics, the china doll's head (actually fimo and sculpted by me), reflecting the old meaning of "turn of the century" just as we were collectively approaching a new turn of a new century. Y2K seems so long ago now! Anyway, it's just a little meditation on the nature of the passage of time.

I've always leaned toward the cluttered, comfortable "grandma's house" look, especially in winter, and most of my furniture, lamps, knick-knacks, etc. would feel right at home in 1910. This piece fits into that thrift shop decor almost as well as the flower arrangements under glass that were so popular then.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Lunar Aspects

LUNAR ASPECTS (11.5" x 13.5") is composed in and on another styrofoam packing piece, using acrylic paints, transparent foil, and transparent plastic to layer the faces one over the other. The yolk of the egg/full yellow moon is a woman curled up in a dream state. The other faces in the egg may be the characters in her dream that are incomplete and hard to grasp -- like the faces we think we see on the full moon's surface.

The whole piece is about the gestational quality of sleep and dreaming -- how often does it happen that you wake with an answer to a question or a piece of inspiration that has come to you overnight? Last night was the first full moon of 2009, so this seemed a timely piece to post today.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Open Doors - SOLD

OPEN DOORS is painted and self-framed in the 8" x 14.5" lid of a styrofoam box that once held test tubes. It is the piece of work that most consistently elicits pleasure in a wide variety of viewers -- I think it is hopeful and happy!

We look through a series of open doors in a gray, old-fashioned, and rather sedate interior to a door that is open to the bright light outside. Three mysterious glowing glass balls have rolled in along the floor to entice us outside, where a column of light waits just beyond the door. It is reminiscent of the house I lived in in Somerville, MA, but even more, it represents my slightly agoraphobic desire to hole up and hibernate, one that I fight every single day at this time of year!

Today the Oil City streets are covered with black ice and I slid my car into the ditch, so I inched my way back up the hill to enjoy a totally justified day of working from home. But tomorrow I will follow the glowing balls again -- that's, after all, why I imagined them!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Fourth House

FOURTH HOUSE is painted and collaged on a 15" x 42" mirror, and it leaves a mirror framed in the middle so that the artist can look at herself from time to time. It is a rendering of the fourth house in my own astrological chart, the house of family and home, beginnings and ends of life. It seems to make sense that when you look at yourself, you keep your eye on those things! You can just see the chart behind the curtain: the Sun and Mercury, Saturn and Neptune, all within a few degrees of one another. This piece is not for sale. Instead, I recommend that everyone make one of their own -- it can lead to some very interesting reflections, if you'll pardon the pun!