I have always loved to work with collage because it lends itself so easily to surreal expression as illustrated in Plum Girl, Still Wish You Were Here, and Spider Princess.
In general, my art has been "representational" rather than "abstract". However, I recently began creating abstract landscapes with torn tissue paper. While I have used torn tissue in my surreal collages in the past, I had not used it to create abstract collages.
"Had I left those images hidden in the emotions, I might have been torn to pieces by them." Carl Gustav Jung
Naughty is the manifestation of a poem I originally composed from a collage of Spanish words (some “Mexicanismos”). I found the words appealing for their crispness, i.e., cachivaches, cuchicheo, berrinches, chiflada, chiflete, metiche, etc. An audio track with the poem read in Spanish (in doll-voice) is part of the interactive piece. The poem was loosely translated to English and written on Naughty’s face to convey the essence of her tale.
I mean for the assemblage to be touched and explored—drawers, which are collages, can be opened. They are labeled: “remembered”, “repressed", and the drawer labeled “regurgitated" is the audio. Below, you can hear the poem in Spanish and English.
This piece was in Devils and Dolls, a group exhibit curated by Rebecca Sive at Woman Made Gallery in Chicago.
The following is a poem I wrote as I was creating the assemblage shown below called Intangible Sweetness. The poem is included in the background of this mixed media piece.
Big girl face,
little girl soul
Wallowing in distant sadness.
Muted mauve mist,
dingy dustless tomb
burying her dolls and innocence.
Big girl face,
little girl soul
searching for intangible sweetness.
Hazy glass pipe
crystal rock candy
forgetting–for a fleeting hour.
Intangible Sweetness was inspired by the tragic story of a woman, and the phrase, "while visions of sugarplums danced through their heads" from The Night Before Christmas.
The doll head represents a woman, who as a child, was sexually and physically abused by her father. Additionally, the head is disembodied to symbolize a break from reality brought on by the abuse. The candy mobile above her head is the "vision of sugarplums dancing through her head". The candy-like pieces are the crack crystals—her addiction, and her desire to attain some semblance of childlike innocence, tenderness—sweetness, which is clearly, intangible.
The viewfinder is reversed to illustrate the audience's distant and detached perspective of the subject. It slides up and down the entire left side of the piece so that one can see the other elements of her environment—her unfortunate life in the same manner.
The woman is now in her early to mid 40s, her children were put in foster care when she was incarcerated as a result of terrible choices made as an addict. She remains in a state prison, and while certainly, one could argue that her life is a result of the choices she made as an adult, one could also point out that she didn't stand a chance. I think that her character, her soul, her spirit was severely damaged at an early age, thanks to her father's repeated sexual abuse, her mother's neglect, and perhaps even, complicity.
I've lost contact with her. I don't know when she'll get out of prison, nor do I know that she'll have the ability to change her life when she is finally released. When I last saw her, I felt so much sadness and pain for her – she appeared childlike, yet her face had aged incredibly. Her sweet, innocent smile was overpowered by her rotting and missing teeth. I pray that she receive the strength she needs to confront the two monsters who damaged her – the two monsters, she calls "father" and "mother".