Monday, October 1, 2012

It Could Happen To Anyone, She Thought
4" x 12"  mixed media - distressed photographs and sutures

Map 1
 5" x 6" mixed media - distressed photographs with sutures

Pink Is For Girls

 6" x 6" mixed media - layered distressed photographs with sutures and gauze

She Had Her Priorities
 38" x 19" photo collage with thread

She Wasn't Sure What To Believe
30" x 19" photo collage with thread

I have been reading Marge Piercy's book of poems, My Mother's Body

Divided into four sections Piercy's book begins with the moment of her mother's death, follows along her grieving process, and ends with the awareness of how her mother lives on in Piercy herself. 
Born in 1936, Marge Piercy, a prolific writer and social critic, has bravely chronicled her personal experiences growing up female, poor and Jewish in anti-Semitic Detroit during the era when urban industrial development forged a brutal gap between poor immigrant laborers and wealthy capitalist entrepreneurs. Strongly political, her art is associated with themes of social, gender and economic inequity. Her work stand as a sober voice critiquing the politics of oppression and disenfranchisement.
What can be learned from examining the structure of poems that might be useful to me in developing my work? 

In my own visual work on memory and family I have chosen to deconstruct and reconfigure family snapshots to suggest the process of recollection and remembrance. At the time of reading Piercy's poems I had been working on the image She Wasn't Sure What To Believe. Looking at the five pieces I wanted to combine, I thought of poetry and how words, spaces and punctuation are strung together to create vivid images. Empty spaces, formed by the breaking of sentences across a line or section emphasized words important to the illusion and controlled the pace of reading. The formal phrasing of the poems lines interspersed with empty space across stanzas, wrenched me from my readers mind and sent me directly to a place of deeper feeling. Meaning is revealed through the dangling of a word left at the end of a line; raw exposure, offering up a thought made vulnerable through its placement.

Returning to my own piece I decided to re-crop and print one of the photo sections to give a field of solid color, my own empty space, a dangling thought, to emphasize the images of the figures in the last two panels. I realized that to create an image that implies a narrative that is both ambiguous and recognizable, the final collage must include well considered empty spaces of color and limited detail, combined with sections of clear subject. Through spacing and juxtaposition I can control (as much as is possible to control in a two-dimensional image), the pacing of viewing which affects the level of identification and heart feltness in the viewer.

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