Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Damned If You Don't

Our Lady of Perpetual Light.
This is the shadowbox that was accepted for the DAMNED IX exhibition in Detroit.
"This shadowbox was inspired by a news story. A man did not agree that his wife should 
continue her education, so he bit off the end of her nose and gouged her eyes out. 
Our Lady of Perpetual Light discusses how religion and its misinterpretation often plays a key 
role in the oppression of women, illustrated here (in part) by the dog (dogma) and the building
 blocks which are covered by bible passages. Education of women is the key to enlightenment, 
not the key to damnation. (From the Saints series.)"


            Haunted, before                                                                 Haunted, after

When you've finished a project, how can you tell if you are 'done'?

Artists always have this problem. I know I've wrestled with what means 'done' for my whole art career. I try to rely on my Spidey Sense. If I can sleep without dreaming about the piece, or drive down the road and not have some component of it jump into my thoughts, then it is done. This works most of the time.

I created Haunted. And when I submitted it to DAMNED IX in Detroit, I honestly thought I was done. And then certain details of the piece started bothering me. Swarovski crystals on a torture helmet - isn't that a little too cute? And it seemed there wasn't enough connection between the top half and the bottom half of the piece. That metal bar of the old metal electrical panel box seemed to be too prominent and visually divided the box in half. 

Haunted was not accepted to DAMNED IX.  Our Lady of Perpetual Light was. And I'm glad because Our Lady is one of my favourite shadowboxes and, although I've had interest from art collectors, I have never wanted to sell it. But I felt I needed to bring out the big guns for DAMNED IX. I needed to submit out my best work. I did. And it was accepted.

After DAMNED IX accepted Our Lady of Perpetual Light, I left Haunted on my desk. This is not what I usually do. When a piece is done, I take it off the desk and cover it. That way I don't pick at it.

I picked at it.

And Haunted became something a little more macabre.

I added a vintage cake topper bride-and-groom (and replaced the bride's head with a mouse skull), a green plastic army sniper, a crashed vintage blue corvette, a Barbie arm with some surgery snips extending out and upward (to deal with that bisection of space), some dead thistles, replaced those cute crystals on the torture cap with small screws, added another dead mouse, and I dirtied the doll's face.  Plus if we're gonna talk torture, I thought I should take advantage of that exposed ear and shove something into it. You know, like Iggy Pop said, "Of course I've had it in the ear before/'cause of a lust for life ". 

Now there is a branch from my corkscrew hazel shoved into the doll's ear. Perfect.

I'm glad that DAMNED IX didn't accept Haunted in its first incarnation because I now realize that it wasn't 'done'. I would have been unhappy during opening night in Detroit, seeing my work hung on the wall, and knowing that Haunted desperately needed some adjustments.   

NOW I'm 'done'. And I am proud of what I've created. NOW I can show the world!

I like to believe that everything happens for a reason. 

Haunted is my submission for Eye for Art.  

1 comment:

Anthony J. Langford said...

From one Langy to another, very cool.