Monday, February 22, 2010

Family Role Models....and a solo exhibition!

(Above: Family Role Models, Decision Portrait Series. Xylene photo transfer on tea-stained muslin. Framed 31" x 37"; unframed 25" x 31". Stitched words: Go to work Mom; Stay at home Dad. Click on image to enlarge.)

I started the Decision Portrait Series in May 2008. Immediately I loved the work. It was part scavenger hunt, part technical challenge, part creative impulse; and part promotion. Of course, blogging about each piece was the "promotion"....which completed the cycle because it was also the catalyst for the "hunt". By this I mean, I posted every finished work on my blog....hoping that someone would read it and find the Decision Portrait blog. I created this special place in June explain the concept to potential "models" and document the series. This blog includes a "wish list"....suggestions for future people willing to share an important life choice through stitches. (I'm still looking for "models"!)

(Above: Family Role Models, detail. Click on image to enlarge.)

Of course, I also talk about this series....A LOT! Word of mouth works....but slowly. Many of my early conversations about the Decision Portraits included someone telling me, "You should get a Facebook page". I was reluctant. I needed another Internet connection like a "whole in the head". I didn't want to be part of something called a social network. Yet, I did really, really want to connect with people...promote my series as a way to find new portraits.

In March I finally gave in....went to Facebook....created a profile...uploaded Decision Portraits into a photo album...and hoped for the best.

(Above: Family Role Models, detail. Click on image to enlarge.)

The BEST happened. Facebook put me in touch with hundreds of people and resulted in several portraits...including this one! I went to Slippery Rock Area High School with the great guy in these photos...back in the 70s....we graduated in 1977. Yet, we'd completely lost touch...until Facebook.

He's everything that a husband and father strives to be: kind, patient, loving, understanding, compassionate, honest, reliable, trusting and trustworthy, passionate, and spiritually good. He describes his lovely wife with touching words of sincere endearment and total respect. Their partnership is strong and deep. They are adoring parents. The years have brought hardships and joys, including bouts with breast cancer and a child born with a disability. Yet, the joys come in part from the closeness of shared values and shared decisions. She's a "go-to-work" Mom; he's supportive and proud. He's a "stay-at-home" Dad; she's supportive and proud. I'm honored to have stitched this work. I thank them both for sharing their choices.,,,,and thank Facebook for putting us together after so many years!

(Above: Family Role Models, detail. Click on image to enlarge.)

Stereotypical gender roles is something I really only know from television reruns of impossible sitcoms that I don't even watch and never saw when originally aired. It isn't part of my life. I'm happily married to another wonderful man....who cooks, cleans, does the shopping and laundry, pays the bills, mows the lawn, takes out the trash, calculates the taxes, and works along side me at our business Mouse House. My husband Steve has assumed all these household chores in order that I have time in my studio to pursue fiber arts. He knows that I need time to make the artwork and time to do all the "paperwork" associated with being a professional artist. One of the "paperwork" tasks is to submit for solo show opportunities.

I started submitting the Decision Portrait Series last spring. Believe it or not, I just signed TWO exhibition contracts for the work. One will be a large installation at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park in Charleston, SC during the MOJA 2010 festival, September - October, 2010. The other is a smaller show at Waterworks Gallery in Salisbury, NC for spring 2011. I've over the moon about these venues!

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