> 2005 - 2010



Painted bronze and wood, 2009, 30"x16"x16"

One morning I impulsively cut a slab of walnut into the silhouette of a plump swimming suit, and mounted it on mahogany legs fitted with maple high heels. I rubbed white paint into the grain of the mahogany. By the end of the week the finished piece was squirreled away in the corner of my work area that could not be readily seen from the common area of our shared grad studio. The next Monday, the head of the department visited. Clearly word was out. He circled my new piece, paused, and pronounced he had nothing to say, “there was no art history precedent for it.” And he left.

I was stunned. I knew he was telling me I was not making, I was not equipped to make sculpture. I sat staring at the piece for the longest time. As I gathered my things to leave one of the other grad students poked his head around the corner and quietly said, “I don’t get it either. But he is wrong.... it is art”.

Jan Zach, the chair of my graduate committee, stopped by a couple of days later. In his usual effusive half-Czech, half-English way, he urged me to make more, bigger and bigger. He was convinced that the piece was the start of my thesis work. But nothing of substance grew from the tiny balsa wood studies that followed.

I gave her away shortly after grad school. She found her way home years later. Today she stands in the corner of our small bedroom, draped in scarves and necklaces. She is my talisman. She reminds me of where I began, that growing up making endless paper dolls at the kitchen table was just as valid beginning place as any other. Her dumpy, overweight shape reminds me of the woman I became, chiding me that I need to lose weight. And her high heel shoes make me smile each and every day, reminding me that I never took time to learn to walk in heels or master makeup. Instead I kept my feet on the ground and slowly defined for myself what it meant to be a woman and an artist.

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