Saturday, March 8, 2014
I can only guess at how important horses were to my mother as she was growing up, the last of five children in a dysfunctional midwestern family. Horses gave her strength and unconditional love, and, later, they also gave her a connection to her sister's middle daughter, her young niece Sue. Sue also turned to horses for probably many of the same reasons my mother did, and it was a bond the two shared for many years. Now, as my mother struggles with memory loss, and as her world closes in, it is Sue who drives from Colorado Springs to Santa Fe once every two months to spend a week to ten days with her. Sue helps her stay organized, cleans out cupboards and closets, takes her to doctor and dentist appointments, bakes her pies and loves her. I don't know if their love of horses started the bond between them, or if, both being horse girls, they were just naturally drawn to each other. Whatever the reason, now some sixty years later, as Mom once helped Sue stay on top of Daisey, Sue is now the one leading the horse and helping Mom to stay on until the ride is over.
*Not long after those photos were taken Daisey and her baby were sold for next to nothing because Mom couldn't afford their upkeep.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Monday, February 17, 2014
Nemesis:The Greeks personified vengeful fate as a remorseless goddess: the goddess of revenge. The name Nemesis is related to the Greek word νέμειν [némein], meaning "to give what is due". Wikipedia
..an opponent or enemy that is very difficult to defeat. Merriam Webster Online Dictionary
When I was in my early 20's I contacted a cold, got sick, felt bad, and then waited for the cold to go away. It didn't. It was my first encounter with what was to become my life long nemesis: the sinus infection. With my bad math, I figure that I have had approximately 40 sinus infections since then. According to what I'm finding out about Nemesis, the Greek Goddess, her job is to dole out retribution, usually when people are a little too full of themselves, and lack hubris, needing to be brought down a notch or two. Her job is to keep things in balance, not letting people be either too happy or too sad.
When I'm sick with a sinusitis my IQ drops by about 20 points, I have no energy, and I find it very difficult to do even the simplest of tasks. I despair, I worry, I feel horribly sorry for myself. I cry, I sleep a lot. On the other hand, because I have this chronic condition, I have a terrifically healthy lifestyle: I exercise, I get enough sleep, I meditate, I have a diet that has absolutely no crap in it. My studio is solvent free and I'm very careful about what I breathe. I've learned to lessen my stress, and be kinder and more patient with myself. I'd like to defeat this "opponent", but I'm not even sure what that means: is it learning how not to get sick in the first place, or does real defeat mean that I just accept and live with my condition? Whatever it ends up being, I would really, really, love to get this particular Greek Goddess off my back.
Saturday, February 8, 2014
Laws on domestic violence vary by country. While it is generally outlawed in the Western World, this is not the case in many developing countries. For instance, in 2010, the United Arab Emirates's Supreme Court ruled that a man has the right to physically discipline his wife and children as long as he does not leave physical marks. While in most developed countries domestic violence is considered unacceptable by most people, in many regions of the world the views are different: according to a UNICEF survey, the percentage of women aged 15–49 who think that a husband is justified in hitting or beating his wife under certain circumstances is, for example: 90% in Afghanistan and Jordan, 87% in Mali, 86% inGuinea and Timor-Leste, 81% in Laos, 80% in Central African Republic. Refusing to submit to a husband's wishes is a common reason given for justification of violence in developing countries: for instance 62.4% of women in Tajikistan justify wife beating if the wife goes out without telling the husband; 68% if she argues with him; 47.9% if she refuses to have sex with him. Wikipedia
At the end of this week, during the green to yellow green stage, I went to a tea in Santa Fe for photographers, museum curators, and people involved in the arts, all women. Some people I knew, some I didn't, but it was my professional world. Once again, I got the quick glance, the look away, then no more eye contact. "Great", I thought, "Now the entire art world is going to think that my husband beats the shit out of me." Finally, close to the end, Jerry West, a husband of one of the artists, arrived to pick up his wife. Upon seeing me, Jerry said in a loud and exclamatory voice, "What the hell happened to you?" It was such a relief to be able to tell him, in detail, about the soccer ball slamming into my face. And had I been the victim of domestic violence, would Jerry have been the only person who cared enough to ask, or were people just too embarrassed and nervous to ask about something they had no idea what to do with had the answer been that I had been struck by an angry partner? What I thought particularly interesting was that in this group of strong, confident, liberal professional women it was the only man in the group who ended being able to ask about the elephant.
For ten years of my life, from my early forties to my early fifties, I played soccer. It was not "the beautiful game" I played, but rather a group of people who hadn't played soccer as children wanting to stay fit and have fun. During one of these soccer games I was hit, hard, in the left eye with a soccer ball. The next day, I woke up with an enormous black eye. It took about a week before going away, and went from dark purple to green, to yellow green, then finally gray before I looked normal again. What I hadn't understood, because I'd never been struck in the face*, was how my black eye would affect the people around me; grocery store clerks, people in stores, anyone I came in contact with that I didn't know. They would glance at me, then immediately look away, not looking me in the face again. I constantly wanted to say, "It's not what you think. It was a soccer ball!", but I never got the chance. My eye, or the reason I had the black eye, was the elephant in the room that no one wanted to address.
*As a young woman in my twenties, while hiking in Ecuador, a man I had started chatting with hit me in the face and knocked me down, hoping I would take him back to the United States when I left. My screams frightened him away.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Late this morning, Fernando Delgado, a photographer here in Albuquerque, made a studio visit so that we could select work for a show that he is both curating and participating in called "Sanctuary", to be exhibited at the South Broadway Cultural Center in Albuquerque in April of this year. He left with the understanding that I would select work I thought appropriate to fit the definition of the show. He made it clear that the definition was very broad. However, after looking through my work, I realized that there was no sanctuary, or place of safety in any of the work I do, in fact, it's the complete opposite. I could find lots of examples of unsafe places, but no "sanctuaries". Throughout the day, as I communicated back and forth with Fernando via email, we both came to the same conclusion: my work, my studio, what I do, is my sanctuary. With this in mind I decided the work that I would give to Fernando would be all self-portraits. I knew that Guard Dog had to be included. Not only is it a self-portrait, it's the me that's defending and protecting the very sanctuary that we are talking about. Stay tuned, more to come, as I find and choose the self portraits to go to Fernando's exhibit.
Monday, January 20, 2014
I used this collage as a didactic teaching tool for my students. I spent the better part of the morning trying to find the perfect legs for the girl. Nothing would quite work, but I did finally find the right pair of legs, interestingly, one of the firsts pairs I had down but then flipped. I cleaned up my table and organized the pairs of legs to show my students how many legs it took to find the right pair. I wanted them to see how arduous it can be to find the right elements to make the image really work. Of course, being compulsive helps.
Sunday, January 12, 2014
What I didn't know was that being a mother means that you automatically become an official grown up, no matter the age and it was obvious that I didn't quite get this part of being a mom. Lipstick that isn't applied quite right, a too small, old lady purse, and giant black bosoms as if I had spent my life on a farm in Nebraska. And of course, tiny, impractical high heels that can't really support the large bulk of a grown up mother-body. However, it's clear that this goofy "grown up" mother cherishes the daughter standing next to her, and that the daughter, with her odd plaid outfit and little legs, understands that she is deeply loved.