Monday, March 23, 2009

Terms of Marriage, Decision Portrait Series

(Above: Decision Portrait Series, Terms of Marriage. Xylene photo transfer on tea-stained muslin. 25" x 35". Hand beading and embroidery. Stitched words: I never wanted children; As the son of a Holocaust survivor....and the grandson of Holocaust victims, I desperately wanted children; On having a family; A decision before marrying. Click on image to enlarge.)

A little over two weeks ago I ran into Dana Blau Shenker at a charity art event. Dana owns one of my "In Box" series pieces. Her mother owns several works and has honored me with two commissions for the conference room at DP Professionals. Dana asked about my current project and a discussion about the Decision Portrait Series ensued.

As a talented, figurative painter who understands the need for models, Dana immediately volunteered to pose for a portrait....but I'm looking for models willing to share significant life decisions.

I asked, "Are you willing to share you most important decision?"
Without hesitation, Dana said, "Yes!"
"What is it?," I questioned.
"I had to agree to have children before Hilik would marry me."

I was flabbergasted! Was Dana, a strong, independent woman with a college education and a job outside her home, really serious? The feminist in me flared with internal rage. Yet, Dana was already talking, explaining, and TOTALLY RIGHT!

Dana didn't want children; Hilik did; a decision had to be made if they were to get married! There's no compromise on trial period, no guarantee, no backing out, no in between area! Hilik wasn't trying to force Dana to do anything. This was a relationship working itself out before establishing a permanent bond of commitment. This was an important decision that had to be made...and wisely done before marrying!

I had to think about the terms of marriage. Hadn't Steve and I talked about this issue and other important matters? Of course we had! There's all sorts of decision couples considering marriage face, from wedding plans to living arrangements, from financial obligations to religious affliations, from family traditions to social expectations. Successful marriages are made by joint decisions.

In this case, Dana decided to share Hilik's dream of a family. She has no regrets. Instead, Dana thinks her choice was one of the best she's ever made and is considering more kids! I am proud to know Dana and honored to share this story.

(Above: Terms of Marriage, detail.)


Carol said...

Oh Susan this is a lovely one, I really love tis story. Hope you are well, I am snowed under with school work at the moment and very busy but wanted to say helo and how are you, as I don't seem to have had much opportunity since yur visit. Hope life is back to normal and the work is flowing freely. It is a real shame about Cyber Fyber but your own personal show will be a wonderful bonus in it's postponement.

Jacquelines blog said...

Your series look great Susan!

Anonymous said...

I was really touched by this artwork and its complex ideas about marriage. Before my husband and I married he made sure I understood that he could never adopt children - "just in case" we couldn't have our own. Sadly it turned out to be one of the wisest conversations and agreements we ever made.

Wanda said...

another great addition to Decisions. And susan...just the variety of decisions in itself is awesome. And to see and feel what is important to others. This series makes a statement for the whole world. It's snowing like crazy today...yippy (said with no enthusiasm). I really want to do my taxes but my fingers keep going to blogs. Don't know how that works! ha ha ha

IDESIGN said...

What a touching story! How wonderful is art that is not only unique and beautiful, but challenges you to think!?! You're brilliant, Susan--thank you for giving us things to look forward to enjoying! ;)