|Learned to Laugh, printed and collaged elements on paper with dental x-rays in found frame, about 24"Hx30"W, ca. 1995|
Like many artists, I have gone through several phases in my career where I experimented with various mediums and methods of expression. In the mid-1990s I worked with printed photographic images for a few years. I settled on a couple of images of myself - one as a child of three or four years old and the other as a Girl Scout at ten or eleven. The work was autobiographical to a certain extent, but I tried to bring it to a more universal level as well. The image above was used on the postcard for a solo show in 1997 that I won at the Provincetown Art Association & Museum (PAAM).
|A wall in the PAAM installation|
I had the whole Ross Moffett Gallery for my show, called Rest Area, and it was quite a thrill for me.
|Double Hair Fan, , 1996. (Collaged paper on board with drawings and artificial hair, 34"H x 23" W.|
I won the show as a prize for Double Hair Fan in the National Competition Exhibition in 1996. The show was juried by Ann Temkin, then curator at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and now Chief Curator at the Museum of Modern Art, NY. Winning was quite a surprise because PAAM had not notified me of the prize in advance, and I only learned about it when I went to see the show.
1995 and 1996 were highlight years in my career. I won a Pollock-Krasner award - a Very Big Deal. I also had a piece accepted into the biennial at A.I.R. Gallery in New York. It was my first Girl Scout work and the piece had actually been sold and borrowed back for the A.I.R. show. That piece was the Merit Badge Quilt below.
|Merit Badge Quilt, 1995, quilted textiles with monotype and Xerox collage, 50"Hx35"W.|
Badges were for:
Pigeon Nurturer Group Tangoist Edith Wharton Imitator
Sombrero Balancer Dishcloth Wrangler
Salvaging Mermaid Pastoral Romanticist
Nude Posturer Tamdem Rowbowist Sexual Innuendoist Empire Builder
Braid Model Adolescent Homoeroticist Sybaritic Bather Ugly Swimsuitist
Another piece from around that time was part of a series of Girl Scout quilts that I made which were mostly paper, some with hair and lace, and all using that photo of me.
|Duty Calls, 1996, Collage on quilted rice paper, 45"H x 36"W.|
The premise of the quilts was the weird combination of skills that Girl Scouts taught - part nurse/part woodswoman. I did a number of pieces about knots and first aid.
This was my paper quilt era and I also made some that were not about the Girl Scouts.
|Blue Aureole, 1997, Mixed media collage on quilted ricepaper, 45"Hx40"W|
This one didn't have any phographic imagery or text.
|Dress for Success, 1996, mixed media collage on quilted ricepaper, 45"H x 36"W|
Dress for Success was an ironic commentary on women's professions and the clothing they wore for them. The central text was about dressing as camouflage and/or cross dressing. Of course I snuck in a picture of myself - as well as my mother and grandmother.
|It's All Connected, 1996, Collaged monotype and Xerox images with drawings, 13"H x 39"W.|
It's All Connected was my explanation of how an imaginary umbilical cord (or chord) stretched throughout life from daughter to mother to grandmother. Yes, more irony.
|Official Portrat at Age 50, 1995, monotype collage on boards with added paint and stamps, 74"Hx29"W|
|One of the pieces in Official Portrait|
Official Portrait at Age 50 was put together at the Millay Colony, where I had a residency in 1995. It used the picture from my driver's license and told a story about my first car. The shape of the text boxes came from the official shield of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles that appeared on the driver's license.
|Nancy and Ellen (now Alya), at the Chinatown studio, late 1980s/early 1990s.|
And finally, because no trip down memory lane would be complete without an embarrassing personal photo, here's one of me with my studio mate Ellen, now Alya Romeos, at 109 Kingston Street in Boston's Chinatown.
Thought of the Day
Here's a question I would like to pose: Can you identify a certain number of your best works made over the course of your career? That is, can you come up with a Best 5 or 10 or 20? I think that trying to make a distinction like that would be interesting to contemplate. Would a "best" mark a turning point of development or something that really came together in color or composition or prizes, etc? I'd like to hear what you think about it. Can you make such a hierarchy of your work over time or is the last one completed the best?