A collection of words and reimagined images from the iconic "Big Eyes" movement.
When I first spotted this ballerina among piles of pastel sweatshirts and chipped Corningware in a church basement rummage sale, my heart quickened.
Though I didn't immediately make any decision about what I wanted to do with her, a sense of urgency took hold. She was, I was sure, fresh from her former owner's basement. No signifier of "vintage" or "ironic" marred our first encounter or inflated her price.
The piquant curl of her side ponytail, her graceful stance, the duplicity of seductive and innocent, compelled me to grab her and take her to New York where I lived. Though I never actually had one of these pictures in my childhood home, she tickled a vague memory and placed me under a mild, pleasant, slightly subversive spell.
Arriving in New York, I lived with the picture for several weeks, visiting the room where I leaned the girl against a bookshelf, observing the verticality of the frame, the charming design, and color---bold blacks and blues. My house was untypically quiet and empty, and I had time to study her. She was ageless. I was aging. She was slender. I was not. We had to make our peace.
While browsing through a middle-age woman's magazine---the kind that promise life after 45 will be filled with madcap adventures, great hair, winsome romance, and moments of stunning insights---I came across a pharmaceutical ad for a menopause drug. The phrase, in blue text struck me. These words applied to me and, I knew, to her as well, Through this text, this commodifaction of intimacy, we found common ground. I scissored the page, ran to the room where she was waiting, slapped it on with blue painters tape, and then later secured it with orange arrow push pin.
I waited for my 16-year-old daughter to return from sleepaway camp. Her reaction would let me know whether I was going in a meaningful artisitc direction or wasting my time. I said nothing when she returned, just waited for her to come across it. When she squealed with delight, laughed, smiled, and told me she liked it, I knew I had hit upon some cross-generational nerve. And the collection process began.
I began to source as many "Big Eyes"-type works as I could find. Each one told me a story and each one drove me to change, manipulate, add, or "dress".
It is the name of a flower that grows in the western part of the United States, and it is the name of the high school where we were confronted with the deafening, savage sound of our future.
This girl is named Columbine and stands with legs spread and steady, cherubic arms bent in the stance that signifies she is ready to shoot. She doesn't need to look at her gun. She needs to look at you and register the fear.
Meet Me at the Disco Inferno
Out of Sorts - Cecilia
She plays a charming tune on the flute as a bluebird lands upon it and listens. On her yellow hair, a daisy chain infuses the woodland with earthy sweetness. A skirt of leaves, green stockings complete Cecilia's comportment with nature.