Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Vicious Circus

I recently went through images of old work searching for examples that are relevant
to the current political climate in this country.

 Broken Trust is made of silver, copper, class, gemstones and American currency.

  My first work about American politics is titled, Broken Trust.  I made this necklace in 1992, the year so many women were elected in response to Anita Hill's testimony.  I intentionally broke the eyeglass lenses on two of the settings to indicate that the American public had lost trust in their government. I cut up real money to prove that I was serious.

 Vicious Circus is made of silver, gold, plastic and brass.

Vicious Circus (2002) is the title of a necklace that I made after the Al Qaeda terrorist attacks on September 1, 2001.  At the time I was shocked by the hateful conversations that I heard publicly and privately about Muslims.  The necklace has five mouths cast in silver with gold snake tongues coming out of them set in a circus themed arrangement. 9.1.01 was a real tragedy and it was appropriate to be outraged and sad but the government used it as a rally cry for war. Our president told the American people that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction to justify an expensive war in Iraq and stirred up a hornets nest of violence in the Middle East. I'm hearing and reading the same hateful talk now from the new administration.

 Beans in Your Ears is made of silver, gold, bronze, copper, glass, gemstones and found objects.

 Beans in Your Ears, a necklace from 1996, was inspired by PTA meetings at my daughter's school where everyone talked and nobody listened. The 2016 Republican party debates were shouting free-for-all's where nobody was listening, but I'm also witnessing Facebook posts where people just vent.  Our new president uses Twitter to rant and he exhibits little patience for listening to people with experience in government.  I'm glad I own this necklace because I need to start wearing it again.

 Terminology is made from IBM typewriter balls, silver American coins and brass Japanese coins.

Terminology (1996) was also inspired  by PTA meetings at my daughter's school where well-intentioned white people were insulting people of color with their choice of words.  Terminology addresses six hot topics: each tablet-shaped-bead is stamped with politically correct terminology on one side and politically incorrect terminology on the other. The hot topics are gender reference, obesity, race, swearing, political identification, and descriptions of sexual organs. I stamped the word pussy on the inappropriate side but I am hearing that word a lot now in public.

 Mantle for Textual Assault is made from steel, aluminum, brass, and found objects.

 Mantle for Textual Assault is armor that we finished in 2015. At that time I was commenting on Internet trolls making hostile and inappropriate references to women. I felt that email, Twitter, Facebook, and texting encouraged people to say cruel and inconsiderate things because the authors are invisible. We are more careful when were are talking on the phone or writing a letter.  My cautionary advice, THINK SLOW and THINK SMART, was based on rules that we learned with older, slower forms of communication. I had absolutely no idea how relevant Mantle for Textual Assault would be in the 2016 election.

  My job as an artist is to observe human behavior and comment on it. From the vantage point of age, I am watching human behavior patterns repeat themselves. While it may feel like change everything is really just the same.