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 receive the strength she needs to confront the two monsters who damaged her – the two monsters, she calls "father" and "mother".