Monday, October 15, 2012
Twenty-Five Years Sober
Twenty-Five Years Sober. Stitched words: One Day At a Time. Xylene photo transfer on tea-stained muslin with running stitch. Hand and machine embroidery. 25 1/2" x 19" unframed; 31” x 25” framed. Click on image to enlarge.
This is the very first piece in the Decision Portrait Series. The series evolved after I created a sculptural unit of doors covered with tagged keys. My “statement” for this 3D work called “Personal Grounds” was simple: Personal Grounds is a location in life determined by the doors opened, the keys turned, and the decision made. Sure, decisions were mentioned. They just weren’t “real”, tangible. What the sculptural unit lacked was "the people" ... the people who make all these decisions. The more I thought about it, the more I envisioned figurative artwork. Despite the fact that I’d never worked using a human image, I couldn’t shake the idea for portraiture.
At first I thought I'd represent famous people who'd made difficult choices...like those senators in John F. Kennedy's book Profiles in Courage. I loved that book...in middle school. The more I thought about this, however, the more I hated the idea. It sounded all too academic...like a good high school history project, not a work of art. Besides, I wasn't passionate about any of these people. Truth be told, I didn't care enough.
Still, portraits would bring about the missing human element. I kept thinking, trying to incorporate images of people. I liked the idea of focusing on decisions that changed lives...bittersweet decisions.... options that meant one thing is left as another is gained...forever changed.
Finally, I got it. I wanted personal decisions…. every day choices…. real people who have made real decisions….like my sister Wanda who was just then celebrating her twenty-fifth sobriety anniversary (2008). That’s a real decision….a very significant one! I’m so happy to have started this series with such an important work!