The Atlas of Surgical Operations
My works are often about transformation, the materials for which sometimes include books and other printed matter. I love the idea of using objects created for other ends in my art, so that their reinvention becomes, as it were, subtext to the broader themes my works address.For example, I often use garments—especially bustiers, bras, girdles, kitchen aprons and childrens’ clothing—as both means and vehicles of containment. Inside their stiffened, shaped, embellished husks—transformed by resin, glue, instinct and paint—I embed unique books and objects reflecting each work’s gloss on personal, feminine, societal or spiritual issues.
The conceit of the book as a transformational object is an ancient, even romantic notion. In Judaism, when Torahs, the hand-written scrolls of the Five Books of Moses, become unusable, they’re not simply discarded but buried, altered at the last with ritual and prayer. In secular life too, books are routinely transformed in ways more destructive than anything artists’ commit. Publishers shred mountains of remaindered volumes, best-sellers included, they can no longer sell. Libraries de-accession or discard books they can no longer house. Pulped fiction is the end product of too many Pulp Fictions.
That a handful of artists alter, cut, chop, vary, amend and otherwise deconstruct a fraction of what might otherwise be by landfill transformed should only be cause for toasts to the continuing vitality of words in print.