This mixed media work had its inception in 2002 when I purchased the original canvas at a garage sale in Dallas for $10. On it was painted a man falling from a skyscraper and sprouting wings, which I can only guess was the artist's attempt to come to terms with the horror of 9/11.
During the following year I covered this with a very dark still life of bottles in a doorway. As I didn't care too much for this either, I started adding collage and 3-D elements such as a picture frame, a mirror, and some dog tags that read Every Little Thing. At this point I began to consider it a somewhat of a "self portrait", as it contained many elements drawn from my own life.
In 2007 when we moved from Dallas and purged many of our belongings, this unfinished monstrosity narrowly escaped a second garage sale. Since that time it has hung unfinished like an albatross in my studio, akin to a book you have been meaning to read, just not right now.
After doing some work at Marianne's studio the other night, I took home a handful of small items to work on including a wooden shrine/cabinet. After painting it the thought occurred to me that it would be a nice addition to this painting, thus began phase 3 of my self-portrait with a new title, Search For Meaning.
In this hopefully final incarnation, I tried to express how women, including myself, struggle with both internal and external expectations in creating their sense of self. Some of the myths and social icons I have tried to touch on are represented by:
* A gas station photo from the 50's with a sign stating, "Marriages performed with the purchase of 5 gallons of gas."
* Several Goddess-like figures, including a saint holding a badge that says "achievement"
* The quote "Who says you can't burn your candle at both ends?"
* A shrine holding little bottles and boxes that
might contain secret potions of eternal beauty or power.
* Above the mirror is the phrase, “you'll always be lovely to look at”.
* Two fortunes attached to the inside of the cabinet doors state, "your artistic talents win the approval and applause of others" and "Soon you will have a chance for a profitable transaction" (I received both these fortunes this past year in fortune cookies.)
I have entered this piece in the 2011 We Art Women Juried Show. I will let you know if my artistic talent wins the approval and applause of others. Who knows, it may even end in a profitable transaction.