Friday, May 30, 2008
A new series underway
(Click on image to enlarge)
Above: Xylene transfer on tea-stained muslin with running stitch and the embroidered words: ONE DAY AT A TIME. 25 1/2" x 19".
Title: Twenty-five Years Sober.)
Yesterday I put an old wooden accountant's stand onto a wrought iron sewing machine base in order to create a lectern or Bible stand for Blues Bible. It was as if these two unrelated pieces were made for one another...a perfect fit. I'm still, painstakingly needlepointing the kneeler. This is the last thing to be done before moving "Blues Chapel" from Edgefield to the more spacious installation in Pickens...except for all the paperwork (exhibition list, truck rental, statement signage, and my part of the mailing list.)
In the meantime, I've started a new series. Since completing Decisions, I've been thinking about work to relate to this "centerpiece"....in order to submit the whole thing as another solo show. I wracked my mind while in England...thinking about the Industrial Revolution and rust and more found objects. This just didn't pan out. Then I thought about the word "decisions" and landed upon the idea of portraits. People make decisions.
At first I thought I'd represent famous people who'd made difficult choices...like those senator's in John F. Kennedy's book Profiles in Courage. I loved that book...in middle school. The more I thought about this, however, the more I hated the idea. It sounded all too academic...like a good high school history project, not a work of art. Besides, I wasn't passionate about any of these people. Truth be told, I didn't care enough.
Still, portraits would bring about the missing human element found in the original installation. I also liked the idea of focusing on decisions that changed lives...bittersweet decisions....options that meant one thing is left as another is gained...forever changed.
Finally, I got it. I started last weekend with my sister Wanda. I'm currently working on my own self portrait. It will say: I quit my job to pursue my art. The title will be : Artist. I contacted my insurance agent. He's posing on Tuesday for a portrait that will say: I loved her for 45 years...the last 15 with MS. The title will be: Husband. I contacted my friend, associate English professor and published poet Ed Madden. He's posing after a research trip in Ireland. His portrait will read: I married Burt. The title will be: Poet. I want to contact the American Red Cross and find someone who's donated blood for years and years who will agree to pose with stitched words: I save lives one pint at a time. Title: Blood Donor. I wonder if MADD has a speaker who relates driving drunk for "I Made A Mistake"; Title: DUI. My friend Britta is sending pictures for "Twins at Age 42"; Title: Britta. The list goes on.
I'm most certainly willing to entertain other ideas. If you've got an idea, please let me know. This is a HUMAN project about the everyday/life altering decisions we all make.
Posted by Susan Lenz at 11:45 AM