Wednesday, November 17, 2010


This week I delivered four pieces to the Attleboro Arts Museum to be part of their invitational exhibition entitled Carry On. I am SO honored and excited to have been asked to be in this show. This exhibition is running in conjunction with a city wide reading initiative, where participants are encourages to read the same book at the same time and extend their connection to the text through local arts and cultural activities, such as this show. This year the chosen book is Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, considered by many as on of the finest books about the Vietnam War, and I couldn't agree more. This is not a book I would have likely picked up to read on my own, but since I have invited to be in this show I read it and I was blown away!! I was mesmerized and taken on a journey that i will never forget!

As artists we were asked to contribute artwork 'that directly responds to O’Brien’s text, along with work that addresses what soldiers, families, nations and others carry – literally and figuratively – during (and after) a time of war.' This will be a very provocative and moving show. Out of the four pieces that I am showing one of them was directly inspired by O'Brien's text but the other three fit perfectly with the theme. For the exhibit they asked the artists to write a description about how their pieces relate to the theme ~ and I figured that i will share those descriptions here because I always find it interesting when I need to put my thoughts and feelings about a pieces into words.

The Virgin of Guadeloupe represents the things that the soldiers carried to get them through; the talismans, the good luck charms, their faith, their hopes and dreams of girls and home. These were the things that kept the men"safe", "sane" and "alive".

In Memory Of... is a piece that I made to represent my sadness and frustration with the conflict in Iraq. On January 1, 2007 the New York Times announced that the list of dead soldiers had 'reached the somber milestone of at least 3,000 deaths since the March 2003 invasion'. I was moved by the 3 or 4 page spread of thumbnail pictures of the faces of the soldiers who had lost their lives. At that point the situation seemed endless and hopeless.

The top of the piece is made out of plaster tape, suggesting injury and immobility. The bottom of the dress is meant to suggest a quagmire – a total mess, with the wires suggesting the mines and booby-traps that have taken many of the soldiers’ lives. Lastly, hanging in and on this mess are dog tags with the pictures of a fraction of the soldiers who have lost their lives, who have left behind mothers and father, and sons and daughters. The size of this dress was deliberate reflecting the innocence lost in war, as well as portraying a sense of emaciation and undernourishment, states often present in war zones.

I have made a few pieces with dog tags as a way of visualizing the numbers and statistics that we hear or read about, and of which we may have become numb. I believe it is important to remember that these statistics represent real people and real losses in homes and families.

As of this week the total of US casualities in Iraq is 4427 since 2003 and in Afghanistan the total is 1388 US casualities since 2001 according to
Tongue Necklace was inspired by the chapter, "Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong". This part of the book enchanted and beguiled me. I felt a sisterhood with Mary Anne Bell; how Vietnam made her feel alive and how she "wanted to penetrate deeper into the mystery of herself". As disgusting as the idea of a necklace of tongues is, I saw it also as a statement of empowerment and freedom. I envisioned the necklace with the tongues facing out, as in the act of screaming either out of pain, terror or as in the act of sticking out your tongue. In Mary Anne’s case, sticking out her tongue to the confines and limitations that she faced back in Cleveland Heights as Mark Fossie’s wife.

Do They Know its Christmas? comes from the ostentatious display of holiday consumerism and cheer while soldiers and loved ones are deployed to war zones.
As I mentioned before I am so honored that i was invited to be in this show - this is a theme of which I have many opinions & that I love to share. I am excited about talking to many people about the brilliant book. In fact if I had more time I could have produced at least a dozen pieces inspired by O'Brien's text. In fact even though I knew of the delivery date for months, thanks to girlies home sick and no school days, I was still madly sewing right up to the time we pulled the van into the museum's parking lot. :)
Show details : November 18th to December 4th, 2010
Opening Reception:Thursday, November 18th, 2010, 5:30 – 7:30 pm. Free and open to the public.
Reception space is limited. RSVP by Nov 10, 2010 to or 508.222.2644 x13

CLICK here to see all the other exhibiting artists along with their web sites and also all the different activities that will be going on during the opening. I am so happy to announce that David Lang is also exhibiting some of his amazing pieces, check out his blog. In fact he was driving us to Attleboro while I was madly sewing!!! thank you St. David!! Now off to deliver some dresses to a party in Boston - more to come about that!! :) peace

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