IN THE MIRROR (ALL I SEE IS ME) (2017) 24″ X 45″
Knitters sometimes hide behind their yarn. They focus on their knitting to avoid confrontations with people, and to protect their privacy; when you’re looking down at your hands, no one can see what’s revealed on your face.
Yarn is my medium. To make pictures with yarn is a private, not a public, act; I disappear into my basement studio and work with skeins and swatches until I’ve got the result I want.
With this piece, I am hiding behind my yarn, and also behind a little wooden mannequin. I’m using him (her?) to talk about the incomprehensibly vast range of possibilities open to people today, and especially to those still in the process of growing up. With these possibilities comes pressure to make choices that will lead to a future they cannot possibly predict.
I did not grow up with these possibilities, and I am still trying to understand them. I’m pretty sure about one truth, though, and that’s what I’m trying to say with this piece: it is that we are all just human beings, and this may be the first time in history that we have the real possibility of simply being ourselves. We can be defined by what’s inside, not by the external trappings that the world sees.
To speak about these issues, to make art about these issues, I am not ready—at least not yet–to confront an actual nude model, transgender or otherwise. I won’t be painting before-and-after-transition nude life portraits, or making drawings of genitalia–ambiguous, surgically modified, natural or otherwise. But I can comment on all these things nonetheless, with my little wooden model, by “painting” her (him?) with yarn.
And if you look at me even now, yes, I’ll probably be looking down at my hands. But I’ll also be smiling.
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