Art Works: 2000’s

Miserere Pen and Ink Drawings: 2000

The pen and ink drawing series Miserere in its detail and colouring evokes the intricacy of the wire I have often used in my three-dimensional pieces, and similarly suggests a controlled or sublimated sexuality.

A Woman, a Dog and a Walnut Tree: 2000

The multi-part work A Woman, a Dog and a Walnut Tree (the more you beat ‘em , the better they be) reflects on my upbringing as a Roman Catholic female and outlines the issues of social and gender conditioning that affected me.  Comprised of numerous individual tablets, its visual components include self-portraiture, advertisements, depictions of household and other objects utilized in my former work, and organic and sexual imagery representative of my current body of work.  Textual elements such as Biblical quotes, proverbs and key words describing desired female attributes are used to illustrate centuries of misogyny.  I have also included excerpts from a collection of letters and recipes written by my grandmother, mother and godmother, in my first language, Hungarian.   These letters place the misogynistic quotes in a personal context, as they reinforce the acquisition of proper attitudes and adherence to the rules of good/feminine behavior as dictated by the church.

The work is presented in tableau form based on the Stations of the Cross, depictions of scenes from the Passion of Christ. The cross appears in several places in small ink drawings incorporated throughout the piece. There is a sense of mourning of the self through the application of black electrical tape around several of the self-portraits echoing the 19th century custom of black bordered death notices, as well as the usage of black screening to shroud the organic/sexual imagery. The use of nails is significant as it denotes Christ’s having been nailed to the cross, but in addition speaks to Catholicism’s belief in the redemption of sin through self-sacrifice, deprivation, and personal suffering.   The nails are also a comment on how the Catechism was forced upon me as an unassailable truth and ‘hammered’ into my head throughout my youth.  On the tablets, I have repeatedly used a pastel painting of the same fleshy leaf image, sculpted vulva-like leaves and snakes, and ink drawings depicting the pubic triangle as gender signifiers. The usage of this imagery affirms my pride in being a woman, but also grieves over the fact that women, and in particular, the female body is so denigrated by the Christian West.

The images contained in A Woman, a Dog and a Walnut Tree alternate rhythmically between the relief carvings, depictions of wild animals, drawings, letters and quotes in an obsessive revisiting, a narrative without beginning or end. This cadence mimics the monotonous refrains of Roman Catholic litanies and is also representative of the brain’s processes – the selective scanning, sorting and replaying of memories in an attempt to give meaning to past experience.

Meeting Lucifer: 2000

In recent work I have arranged sequences of images in intimate groupings. Meeting Lucifer incorporates textual material (handwritten letters in Hungarian from my mother, grandmother and godmother), with wire and drawn elements. The nature of the correspondence reinforces the restrictions of my upbringing and serves as contrast to the male/female metaphors implied by the wire/snake forms and the leaf/vulva shapes.

8 framed mixed media works 
28.5cm (h) x 22.5cm (w) x 3cm (d)