Monday, October 15, 2012

Family Role Models

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 order to find “models” for this series, I talked about it….A LOT…to anyone who would list.  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 2009 I finally gave in....went to Facebook....created a profile...uploaded Decision Portraits into a photo album...and hoped for the best.

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 strive 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!

Stereotypical gender roles are 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 in the spring of 2009.  While stitching this portrait in the spring of 2010, I signed TWO exhibition contracts for the work. One was for 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!

Both these shows went well.  Curated groups of Decision Portraits have been shown elsewhere and will be featured in a solo exhibition sponsored by Quilts, Inc. at the 2012 International Festival of Quilts in Houston, TX from November 1 - 4.  The entire series is then going to Vision Gallery in Chandler, AZ from January 11th through the month of March.

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