My deep empathy for feminine and maternal presence in war-torn lands has been a theme of an ongoing project entitled Life Paused: Women and Wars. This is a body of mixed-media drawings dedicated to women who are forced to exist amid distractions of war.
The intensity of the subject matter dictates the choice for my materials. The wooden pieces and boards, for example, which I utilize as both canvas and working materials, resemble life easily destroyed by fire. At the same time, wood can act as an extremely resilient matter and of course, its origin, a tree, is a living entity, which usually grows among its equivalents and as such resembles a human community. The images at times are engraved on wood with a burning tool to reflect on scars left by war, both physical and emotional.
A work often begins with a creation of a collaged background utilizing paper, cloth, wood or found objects. These materials are glued, stapled or sewn together. Figurative images evolve through drawing, painting and various forms of collage. I often alter an initial bodily image by slashing or cutting off its various parts. Then, utilizing sewing, stapling or gluing again, I am able to mend the initial forms into metamorphosed bodies. This method of making, undoing and mending allows for an expression of pain, tension and emotional coping.
I also consider these pieces “thread-drawings” where thread is used as a drawing tool making linear connections between the parts. Conceptually, thread also reflects on life’s passages, which can be easily broken but possibly mended. The initial figurative image inscribed on paper, cloth or board by drawing, painting or burning, often becomes a ghost underneath the flesh of threads and other textiles.
This work is a reminder to myself and a viewer that in times of war women are forced to continue to give birth, to nurture and to sustain life in the face of terror, fear, shame, and to often see that same life disintegrate through the loss of their children and husbands to war’s horrors, as well as the fall of their own bodies through shameful hurts.