I created this piece for Sideshow Gallery’s Sacred Heart show in February 2019. It’s adapted from an early 1900s bookplate, and it’s hands down the most evocative piece I’ve done.
I showed it to my Mom, who was immediately transported to her younger days of ministry where she encountered what she called “true evil.” The kinds of experiences that left no doubt in her mind that there are spiritual forces at work and they’re not all benevolent. The memories still held the power to scare her.
It reminded another friend of a news story he had read of a man whose wife was in the hospital, dying. The doctors estimated she only had several days to live, and instead of sitting in that sterile environment until the end, he checked her out of the hospital and took her home. They drank and had sex and did a bunch of drugs until she died. (He was apparently subsequently arrested; such is the difficulty of meeting death on your own terms.)
I titled this piece “First Date” because as I was laying down layers upon layers of satin stitch, and adding those little ominous pops of red, I thought a lot about misogyny, and about my religious upbringing that made me vulnerable to the harm of a patriarchal society. I thought about my nieces, who are in college, and my desire to protect their drinks from strangers and dates alike. I thought about all the women in my life who have willingly reached out their hands to a man, only to discover that what he is offering is poison.
I imagine there are yet more stories here. I look forward to hearing them.