Institutions Support Yet Suffocate;
Transcendent Art Restores:
Terra Cotta
26” H x 11” W x 9" D
About the Piece
Diary Entry: My dreams woke me up in the middle of the night and I was full of emotion thinking about this piece. I have been remembering Woman Closet from Judy Chicago’s Woman House, and Louise Bourgeois’ Femme Maison. I feel claustrophobic: hospital stays, endless doctor appointments, not being able to leave Pittsburgh to go on vacation because of my health, the drain in my abdomen keeps me from even swimming. This piece is about being trapped by institutions and buildings I am responsible to; yet at the same time these structures and institutions help to support me.

The front of the piece is a self-portrait. I am vulnerable in my nudity, helpless against the encroaching architecture, the look on my face is a fighting face of defiance, not giving in, not being a victim.

On the back of piece I am the sculptor resting on the ground after making a tableau of some of the images I saw in India. My sculpting tools lie on the ground next to me. Sometimes I like to imagine I could have been one of the sculptors who carved the magnificent, fantastical figures from Khajuraho, or Mamallapuram.

At the top of the piece I have recreated a Naga, or water snake goddess surrounded by her dankini and tantrika spirits. Trees dig their roots deep into Mother Earth where a small animal burrows in her bosom. One of the trees grows into a fecund goddess; a bird nests on her shoulder and sings a melody. A bare back riding cowgirl and her horse catapult into the air towards one of the open windows. She is a messenger between this world of the unconscious and the conscious on the other side. She brings succor to me, trapped on the other side.

As shown below, this piece can be displayed with the back against a mirror. The figures on the back function like dreams and memories which are “viewed through a glass darkly.” The viewer is then invited to look through the three triangles created by my body to see the back of the piece reflected in the mirror. The buildings on the sculpture are claustrophobic and without windows. However, I have used my own body to create widows and a breathing space. The three triangular windows, act as a metaphor for viewing my interior and subconscious world (the triangle is a common female symbol).


[please click on images to enlarge]



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