Sunday, May 22, 2016

#tbt: the story of 'black widow ...'

'black widow ...' (vcr tape dress) 
Sculpture: vcr tape, chicken wire, Size: 55 x 64 x 50" (2008)
Lucy Lippard juried this piece into the Women's Caucus for Art: "from the center” 
exhibit at the Woman Made Gallery, Chicago, IL Jan, 2010. 
In honor of 'black widow' being part of David Lee Black's Create your vision photography workshop this Sunday, I wish to share the story of 'black widow ...'
I made 'black widow ...' in 2008 when people were still using VCR tapes. Now when people see 'black widow ...' they ooo and ahhh as if VCR tapes are as old as the rotary phones.

I got the idea when I got a glimpse at the insides of one of those VCR cassette. I saw this shiny, ribbon like material and immediately thought it would make a great dress.  I noted that the VCR tape not only had this shiny black quality but it also moved with any kind of breeze and it was reflective and it also made a beautiful sound when it moved!!! All wonderful qualities to have in a material!!! And to highlight all these I decided to use a chicken wire armature for the bodice and weave the VCR tape into the chicken wire and then create the skirt by hanging endless ribbons of VCR tape.  

Now an interesting happened when I was creating the armature ...first let me share with you that whenever I start any dress I do not have a preconceived idea of the shape of the form but just 'follow' the material and the dress.  As I was working with the chickenwire, molding and twisting it into the bodice, the waist was becoming very small and the breasts were growing?!?! As I continued I realized that this dress was going to speak to the inane expectations that the media, TV, magazines, Hollywood  creates for women!!! That from the youngest age girls/women are told how to look and how to act and a majority of those messages are not healthy (although there has been a movement for more healthy images in the media for girls/women, but honestly it is still pretty nasty out there) 

So as this thought was percolating I felt the need to close off the arm holes of the bodice, as a way of symbolizing how these messages and expectations presented by the media trap and stifle women. 

Once the bodice was finished I covered it with VCR tape in one of my favorite methods, weaving and then created the skirt.  I do not know how many VCR tapes I used (wish I had kept track) and 'no' I didn't use particular movies (another question I am asked).  After creating and showing the dress I did have MANY!! people asking if I wanted there old VCR tapes. It was interesting as I believe I witnessed the ending of the VCR tape era, as the amount of tapes that I was offered was mind-blowing.  I did take many boxes because I do think that this is an awesome material.  

It seems to be weather-proof as well.  In 2012 I did a workshop with the Happy Hollow Elementary School in Wayland, MA where the Students and I created a jellyfish out of VCR tape.  Click here to see a blog post about my visit to the school!! 

A last note about 'black widow ...' is that I feel it also reflects my personal feeling about watching TV can be the death to creativity, imagination and so much more. 

Below is a bit of a blogpost from 2009, when the Starbuck's coffee cups had different quotes on them ...

13 uninterrupted years!!!! lost

This is a quote that came on my Starbuck's cup and I HAD to share.....
The Way I see It #51 ~
"Americans spend an average of 29 hours a week watching television- which means in a typical life span we devote 13 uninterrupted years to our TV sets! the biggest problem with mass media isn't low quality- it's high quantity. Cutting down to just an hour a day would provide extra years of life- for music and family, exercise and reading, conversation and coffee."
--Michael Medved, author of Right Turns & radio talk show host

That is a little over 4 hours a day which equals 13 YEARS!!!!!I am the person who, in college, learned that you spend about a quarter of your life asleep and I tried to stop sleeping - that didn't need sleep, but TV?!?

So that is a bit of the backstory of 'black widow ...' and if you can come to Plymouth today and join a wonderful group of creatives taking pictures in a inspiring space with modeling and musicians!! it is an event NOT TO BE MISSED!!! XXX


Eleventh in a series of a wonderful growing community of supportive and talented photographers of all skill levels.

We will be photographing at the amazing TreeHouse Studios of Kristin Hughes-Craig located at 84 Court Street,Plymouth, Massachusett with professional lighting, backdrops and a projection screen! 

We will be photographing the lovely model Capri Lanning-Cafaro. Capri will be interacting with artist Virginia Fitzgerald's hauntingly beautiful dress sculpture, "black widow . . ."

There will also be plenty of helpful guidance and suggestions to enhance your passion for artful photography.

Feel free to invite your friends or share this invite!

What to bring: 
Camera (All kinds of cameras are welcome)
Your creativity
Optional: Examples of work for peer review

Cost: $50

Parking is street and parking lot on side of building. Also there is a public parking lot behind Plymouth Memorial Hall across the street.

We will meet at 10:30 am for meet and greet (refreshments provided).

This just in . . .
The wildly talented @Steven Lanning-Cafaro will be playing classical and flamingo acoustic guitar for this special event!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

'lilith contemplates ...' in Rockland ME and the Portland Press Herald tells about it ...

In today's Portland Press Herald, Daniel Kany reviews  'What You See...' , the current exhibition at the Carver Hill Gallery in Rockland, Maine. This exhibit is where I am debuting three photographs on aluminum,  from my 'lilith contemplates ...' series.  Click on the links below to read the entire article and to go to the Carver Hill Gallery's web site.  I have also listed the other exhibiting artists' links below.  Happy surfing!!!
in the Sunday Portland Press Herald.

'lilith contemplates pallets ...' (2015) in the exhibit

"In several images, Virginia Fitzgerald takes a freestanding, shoulderless dress sculpture out to play the part of her model and muse, with an eye to its ghostly emptiness. The dress, however, finds its best repose leaning against a garage wall with an old push mower. As a couple, they punctuate."


WHAT: “What You See …” Works by Sharon Arnold, Craig Becker, Nadine Boughton, Virginia Fitzgerald, Seth Lester, Elizabeth Opalenik and Agnes Riverin

WHERE: Carver Hill Gallery, 338 Main St., Rockland

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday; through May 31

MORE, 594-7745


Digital and photographic compositions from 7 artist including Sharon Arnold, Craig Becker, Nadine Boughton, Virginia Fitzgerald, Seth Lester, Elizabeth Opalenik, Agnes Riverin.
Link to article:
'lilith contemplates detours ...' (2015) 

links to other artists:
Elizabeth Opalenik

Sharon Arnold

Craig Becker

Nadine Boughton

Seth Lester

Agnes Riverin

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Nearly 150 years later, Mother's still want the same thing ... PEACE

To me, it is not such a surprise that the women and mothers in 1870 had the same desires and wants as we women and mothers have today, in 2016. 
It doesn't surprise me, but it does sadden me.  
Julia Ward Howe, in 1870, wrote the Mother's Day Proclamation, asking women to stand up to end war.  
At her time she was referring to the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War. Now, almost 150 years later, I could not even name all the 'wars' and military conflicts that are raging.  It is sad and depressing that violence and war are still such a mainstay of our world.

Here is the post I wrote a few years back about Julia Ward Howe and her Mother's Day Proclamation. 

Thank you Julia Ward Howe; the real mother's day story

Today I got a wonderful Mother's day present ~ I learned about the true origin of Mother's Day and I have been blown away by the story. 

I thought that this holiday had been started, or at least fostered, by Hallmark and the world of commercialization.  But that is false. This holiday DID NOT begin to get people to buy stuff!!!! 

Mother's Day began when Julia Ward Howe (an amazing woman ~  a prominent American abolitionist, social activist, and poet)  wrote the Mother’s Day Proclamation, written in response to the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War.  She asked for women to stand up for ending war. 

"...In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace."
(The full text is at the bottom, thanks to Code Pink)

The fact that this proclamation rings achingly true 142 years later is not lost on me!! So much violence rages in this world ~ in the name of power, justice and even peace-keeping.

Later the holiday was used to help reunite families after the Civil War, lead by a West Virginia women’s group led by Anna Reeves Jarvis.  "After Jarvis’ death, her daughter began a campaign for the creation of an official Mother’s Day in honor of peace. Devoting much of her life to the cause, it wasn’t until 1914 when Woodrow Wilson signed it into national observance in 1914." (from the article on Nation of Change's site.) The article goes on to say that Jarvis actively worked against the commercialization of the day, but alas, here we are! 

But that does not mean we are need to keep 'buying' into this commercial version of Mother's day.  We can change the focus of Mother's Day.  Just as Julia Ward Howe called for women and mothers to 'arise' for peace in 1870, we can 'arise' today, this year and next year and demand PEACE.  

We can take this day back from the marketplace and make it a celebration of PEACE.  I believe Peace on Earth would be the best gift to any mom!!  

I have always loved the idea of celebrating Mothers, motherly love and the nurturing concept of TLC and the desire for PEACE only adds to that equation.

  So . .  PEACE! 
Julia Ward Howe's Mother's Day Proclamation - 1870

Arise then...women of this day!Arise, all women who have hearts!Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!Say firmly:"We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,For caresses and applause.Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearnAll that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.We, the women of one country,Will be too tender of those of another countryTo allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up withOur own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm!The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."Blood does not wipe out dishonor,Nor violence indicate possession.As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvilAt the summons of war,Let women now leave all that may be left of homeFor a great and earnest day of counsel.Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the meansWhereby the great human family can live in peace...Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,But of God -In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly askThat a general congress of women without limit of nationality,May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenientAnd the earliest period consistent with its objects,To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,The amicable settlement of international questions,The great and general interests of peace.

Friday, April 15, 2016

David Lee Black, Katie Moorhead, the Attleboro Arts Museum and 'flirt...' all walk into a bar ...

'flirt...' exhibited at the Mother Brook Art Center, Dedham, MA

Melanie Moore and 'this is me, a work in progress...'
Start your weekend off with a burst of inspiration and creativity!!  and exhale all that nasty mojo from doing your taxes!!!

Kaya Alexandria Wadsworth Worthington modeling her beautiful work

Kaya Alexandria Wadsworth Worthington, owner of CapeCod Gypsea, with 'lilith in blue ...'
Join me and a wonderful group of talented and fun photographers for the tenth of David Lee Black's Creating Your Vision Photography Workshops.

Katie Moorhead with 'torqued and tethered ...' from the last workshop.
Tomorrow we are meeting at the lovely Attleboro Arts Museum and we will be photographing the amazing Katie Moorhead Owner of EBB & FLOW and Artist at Island Moving Company!!! and my sculpture 'flirt ...' 
'flirt ...' detail

I have been honored to participate in many of these workshop as a photographer and as a contributor, since David has used many of my sculptures as props/models. Here are some of my photographs from just a few of David's workshops!!! 

'flirt ...' detail

The photographs that result from these workshops blow my mind!!! It is always a thrill and a treat to attend and for tomorrow David has put together an awesome line-up!!!  hope you can join us!! XXXX

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

'lilith contemplates ...'

One body of work which basically created its self is my photo series called, 'lilith contemplates ...'

What I mean by that statement is that the idea for the series basically came from the sculpture, 'lilith in blue ...'.

Last spring there were a few occasions in which  'lilith in blue ...' was needed to be out and about.

The first event was that she was one of the models for one of David Lee Blacks' Photography Workshop "Creating your Vision". 

'lilith in blue ...', along with the beautiful and talented Melanie Moore and Kaya Alexandria Wadsworth Worthington, owner of CapeCodGypsea, were photographed in front of the Atlantic ocean.  I thought that she looked so at home outside in the elements!!

Then she was one of the sculptures that I brought with me when I gave my lecture for 'wake up and smell the poetry' in May.

During the lecture I spoke about 'lilith in blue ...'  and the historical/biblical/mythical figure, Lilith.
talking during 'wake up and smell the poetry' 2015
Lilith's story can vary depending on the source.  The one that I reference in the name of my sculpture is the Lilith that was Adam's first wife in the Garden of Eden.  She was made like Adam, out of dirt, her own individual creation, not from any part of Adam. With this individuality came an independent spirit and a strong will which was not acceptable in Eden.  So Lilith was banished from the garden and God made Eve, using a rib bone from Adam with the intention that Eve would be more obedient ... enter snake, stage right.

Upon relaying Lilith's story I recognized some similarities between my 'dressproject' and Lilith's strong will and eventual exile.  'lilith in blue ...' is a plaster dress sculpture on which I painted images which  allude to life, nature, passion, pleasure, knowledge and femininity.  As i spoke suddenly I saw this sculpture was an embodiment of my 'dressproject'.

After the lecture, I was planning to return 'lilith in blue ...' to my studio but in the driveway of my studio there was an old push grass cutter and I put 'lilith in blue ...' by the contraption.  It felt like 'lilith' had a thought about this relic and suddenly I knew that 'lilith' had many thoughts and instead of going back into my studio, 'lilith' went back into my car to go out and contemplate the world.

She went many places last Spring and I witnessed a series develop - 
be it in a book form, or in a gallery.  

Sadly, I had to abandon lilith's adventures with the increasing pressures of 'real life',  but I knew that her returned to the studio was temporary.  If I can get funding for her travels we would be back on the road. in NO time flat.  In fact when I envision this series I see lilith and I criss-crossing the country, contemplating the brooklyn bridge, the mississippi, a hay stack, an oil drill, the badlands!!! 
 the list can go on and on. 

But until the lilith lottery ticket arrives, 
here are a few of the photos from lilith's journeys so far.

'lilith contemplates evening ...' (2015)
'lilith contemplates single stream recycling ...' 2015
'lilith contemplates that freedom is not free ...' 2015
'lilith contemplates detours ...' 2015
'lilith contemplates the art of lisa barthelson ...' 2015
'lilith contemplates a change in careers ...' 2015
'lilith contemplates palettes ...' 2015
'lilith contemplates sanctuary ...' (2015) 
'lilith contemplates the cost of parking ...' 2015

thank you and peace!!!

video from 'wake up and smell the poetry'

Monday, March 14, 2016

validation: messy room, brilliant mind!!!!

What a perfect way to start a week!!! In my FB feed, there was a link to this article from Country Living with the comment ...   'this looks likeVirginia Fitzgerald" 
Well, it not only looks like Virginia Fitzgerald, it IS ME!!! 

Many moons ago I 'modeled' for a local photographer who sells his photos to photo banks, like Getty Images, but I completely forgot about it until today!!! And now I am the poster child for embracing your MESS!!!! (happy dance)

And to add to the joy of this discovery,  this photograph captures me working on one of my favorite sculptures, 'lush ...' , so that would be the summer of 2009. 

This New Study Offers a Good Excuse Not to Straighten Up That Messy Room

Papers thrown about? Craft supplies strewn across the table? A disorganized space might just be a sign of creative brilliance.

If there's one thing we could all count on hearing from our parents growing up, it was the seemingly constant command to clean our rooms. Over time, mom and dad's insistent reminders to put away our toys have turned into a nagging inner voice telling us that we'd get so much more work done if we'd just straighten up our desks.But what if everything you thought you knew about the benefits of being tidy was wrong? A recent study released by psychologist Kathleen Vohs at the University of Minnesota concluded that a messy work environment is actually linked to greater levels of creativity and and interesting ideas.In the study, Vohs tested the effects of different kinds of working environments on human behavior. As part of the study, participants were asked to come up with different uses for ping pong balls. The ideas were scored by impartial judges, who concluded that the ones generated by the people in messy environments were more interesting and creative. Messy room participants also tested as more likely to choose a new product than an established one."Disorderly environments seem to inspire breaking free of tradition, which can produce fresh insights," Vohs said in a report by the Association of Psychological Science."Orderly environments, in contrast, encourage convention and playing it safe."The study was tested in six different locations, but Vohs found that the type of room participants worked in did not matter—the environment just had to be unkempt to result in a difference in behavior.So the next time you head into your home office or craft room, you may want to skip the extra few minutes it would take to put your books or supplies away—you never know when your messy space will inspire something extraordinary.TELL US: What type of environment do you think you do your best work in?(h/t Apartment Therapy)

'lush ...' (2009)