Sunday, April 14, 2019

The Virgin of Guadalupe Triptych

 (Above: The Virgin of Guadalupe Triptych.  21" x 22" x 5". Free motion embroidered and hand beaded digital image on fabric in a collaged wooden triptych.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

This was once an inexpensive, Made in China, wooden triptych mirror, perhaps meant to assist a girl in applying make-up.  I bought it over a year ago at Bill Mishoe's auction despite the fact that it was so obviously new merchandise from a low-end, big box store, something without much character or any suggestion that it had ever been used much less treasured.  I bought it because it was a triptych.  All triptychs attract me.  I see in them the basic structure of so many beloved Renaissance paintings.  I couldn't resist this one but then never used it ... until now.

 (Above:  The Virgin of Guadalupe Triptych, detail.)

Thinking back, I don't know why I grabbed the triptych and put it in the cargo van while packing for this art residency at Osage Arts Community.  I just did.  I had no plan for it beyond the vague idea that these two months in Missouri were supposed to function as a time to sort through boxes of ephemera and determine what I was going to keep, use, give away, or throw away.  Perhaps, I brought the triptych for the simple reason that a decision needed to be made ... and I made the decision last week to use it.

  (Above:  The Virgin of Guadalupe Triptych, detail.)

Also, I didn't realize that this image of the Virgin of Guadalupe got packed.  It was simply among other digital-images-printed-on-fabric that I needed.  After unpacking my supplies for this art residency, the image and the triptych happened to be put side-by-side ... almost as if begging for me to put them together.  Once the decision was made, the work went very easily.  It took several days to collage the wooden structure, allowing different surfaces to dry in order to move on to other parts.  The machine stitching went very quickly.  The beading only required a day.  The words are always with me, parts of Hail Mary, a traditional Catholic prayer for intercession. 

  (Above:  The Virgin of Guadalupe Triptych, reverse.)

I'm not entirely sure the reverse is finished.  Perhaps another prayer? But if so, which one?  I don't know yet and I don't have to know.  The important thing is that the triptych was transformed from an unused, unloved, ordinary, cheap item into a work of art.  That's one less item in my stash of "found objects" that went from "potential" to "promise".

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