During one session in 2015, my psychotherapist surprised me by saying I was a sex addict. I assumed this was due to my promiscuity and felt unfairly judged. When I returned home that evening I made a series of collages. This is one collage from that series.
When I look at this series today I ask myself a few questions: 1) Was I castrating the hot men I slept with? 2) Was I castrating my psychotherapist? 3) Was I castrating myself?
The images and the title of the series were found in an issue of Stallion magazine from the 1980’s. I purchased the vintage gay porn magazine at Circus of Books in Silver Lake, Los Angeles in 2012.
*Please note: The background paper is uniformly white. This image is scanned on a flatbed scanner and some of the background color may appear uneven due to the scanning process.
This handmade ceramic sculpture is various shades of blue with swirls of black, brown and red accents. It is made of stoneware and fired at a high temperature. The glaze surface is mostly matte with accent areas of gloss. The abstract organic form is inspired by my succulent garden and the beautiful blue sky outside my Los Angeles studio. I used slab, coil and pinch techniques to build this sculpture and the surface texture was created by pressing objects against the wet clay. Three different glazes were used to create depth and variation in color. The sculpture is signed and dated on the bottom.
Family Plot is a series of hanging abstract sculptures inspired by my childhood memories. I grew up in a suburb of New York City, the youngest of five siblings in an Irish-Catholic working class family. Both of my parents were children in The Great Depression. During World War II my mother was a teenager and my father served in the Navy. My parents were careful with money and liked to save things for future use, as many parents of their generation did. Our attic, basement and garage were filled with lots of random items: cases of toilet paper and soap, old books, clothing, papers, photos, furniture and more.
As an adult I have continued this pattern of saving things. Perhaps this brings me comfort. Perhaps this creates stress. This is an ongoing personal exploration. Much of what I choose to save has no monetary value- discarded socks, abandoned dog toys, scraps of wood and foam, sentimental gifts, impulse purchases from the dollar store. I have used bits of these castoff items as the underlying structures of the sculptures in this series. These sculptures have uniform exterior surfaces and unique interior histories.
My family home was neat and clean. All clutter remained hidden behind closed doors. The clutter I collected to build these sculptures remains trapped beneath a hard shell, a tough concrete exterior. All works are suspended from chains. Am I the tough one who is chained to my clutter… and also to my family? What lurks beneath the surface of these sculptures are family secrets whose meaning remains a mystery. There are clues, and some clues are more apparent than others. Family plot is family intrigue. Family plot is a final resting place, a burial site for members of a particular family. Family plot is emotional closure. Family Plot is a comedy mystery-thriller from my adolescence, the final film directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
Working titles of individual sculptures (pictured from left to right): Father, Son and Holy Ghost; Not in My House; I Promise Not to Tell; Imaginary Friend; My Sister the Saint; My Brother the Favorite; Unconditional Love; Don’t Rock the Boat; Mystical Communion; Speak No Evil; Happy Family; Dear Diary; Portrait of An Artist