INSIDE THE BOX
In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s I experimented with the box format. This was inspired by finding interesting existing box forms that could be used, as the altered books were much later, as a starting point for several works on different subjects.
These were based on fabric-wrapped boxes used to store and present Chinese cloisonne’ vases and featured a fabric loop and “ivory” closure. Painting the boxes black gave a neutral format from which to begin but also suggested subjects used as well.
In making “The Wolf Box” I used the horizontal aspect to create a nightscape. Much of my work at the time had to do with a deep interest in dreams and “dreamscapes” with the attendant dream vocabulary and symbols we each experience.
The fact that the box has to be opened to be viewed relates to the interior quality of dreams, the often inaccessible aspect of them, the mystery of what occurs there.
Also relating to dreams, “Child” has served as a link to present work also.In the mid-1970’s I began dreaming a disturbing recurring dream of an infant wrapped in bindings like a small mummy. This reflected my worry that circumstances would thwart my efforts at being an artist, although it would be years before the meaning of this dream actually was understood. There followed for decades dreams of “The Child”, in various situations, acting as a barometer of the status of my creative life. Journals kept since then have documented the changing landscape of that “Dream Child”, and in 2004, another serendipitous find, a manniken of a child, provided the form that expressed the successful transition of the first “Child”, the bound child. (See“Child Revisited” )
Dreams had a great link to the sculpture of “Child”. At the same time I was dreaming of the lifeless, bound child, appearing in the inderterminate “space” of dreams, I also had a dream of a small child in a white, old-fashioned crib. The child was standing, looking out at me intently, silently. A short time later, on a visit to my friends in another city, she suggested we go to a great antique shop. Nestled in a wooded area we found it, an old house now a perfect antique shop. I went in and directly up the stairs to a loft-like room. Here I found an old, white, antique child’s bed, a crib. In it were several very old dolls of various materials. I bought them all. One was to serve as the “Child”, wrapped in strips of muslin and placed in a small black box. (The others served as the subject of a strange series of photographs.)
In the early 1980’s I began using more fabric in box form pieces. One of them, “Virginia Dream Box” was made of brown velour and white cotton using the sewing machine to stitch the tiniest stitches possible to “draw” the shape of the sleeping woman. I used a felt marker to add dimensional effect.
“Virginia Dream Box” was exhibited in 1980 for “Virginia Dream Show II” at The Virginia Beach Art Center, Virginia Beach, Virginia. As requested, I was interviewed on local television to talk about the connection of dreams to the artists’ work.
A more recent use of the box form is this work, from 2002, “Lock And Key”. Rusted metal and a nail with acrylic pumice medium are the materials for this 6 x 6″ transformed cardboard box. This dark and rough assemblage of rusty metal (motor oil lid?) and a rusty nail suggested a keyhole, with the nail providing a kind of key. More mysterious and inaccessible imagery reflecting, I think, a theme that lies beneath many artists’ work-the search for what is unknown, to reveal the invisible lying out sight and comprehension.