This past year I received a Multidisciplinary Artist Fellowship grant from the Somerville Arts Council. In conjunction with the grant, a community art project was required, and in the spring I conceived of the concept that finally came to fruition in December. I had proposed to make a box or boxes that were made to look like Victorian curio cabinets. A peephole in the front would reveal an interior which used three interior mirrors (sides and back) to reflect a photograph and the eye of the viewer, creating a composition unique to the individual viewer.
After months of trial and error, my efforts culminated into two identical boxes constructed from antique books entitled "The Book of Knowledge". I was excited beyond anything to have found these books, as the finished product was to be hung as a permanent exhibition in two of our local libraries, one of which is adjacent to the beautiful Reference room. The final version of these "cabinets" includes a photograph from my series Variations on Sound and Illness, with a 3-dimensional detail of golden threaded rays radiating from the peephole. The mirrored illusion creates a triptych of an all-seeing eye. By standing a bit further back, the rays radiate from your entire face. The divinity of the individual is exposed.
Having being accustomed to sharing my work in its entirety online, it is a new experience for me to not be able to make the art accessible to you. It is a bit heartbreaking, as I love these pieces, and the majority of those who are aware of and follow my work live out of state or country, but it is also a bit thrilling. I've discussed before with a number of my friends who are photographers how the accessibility of art via the internet can cheapen the delivery. We are inundated with incredible art daily, and we can scroll through it in an instant on Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Tumblr, blog feeds, without really absorbing it. This requires you to be in exactly the right spot, and that moment is entirely your own.
I am grateful to have received this grant, and grateful for the opportunity it gave me to create something within my own community. I am grateful, too, that it encourages interested viewers to visit our local libraries. One is currently hung in the West Branch, and the other will soon be installed in the main location. In the West Branch, you can find it (appropriately) between the Mystery and the Reference sections. In the main library, it will be hung adjacent to the Mythology (also appropriate) and Literary Criticism sections.
I am indebted to all of those who helped me with the various attempts and incarnations of this project. I'm am humbled (and honestly a bit embarrassed). Matthew Azevedo, Eric Bernstein, Jerry of Fun Antiques, and Brett Henrikson, you are incredibly talented, generous and kind. I would also like to thank Karen Kramer of the west branch library for helping to facilitate the installation. She's fantastic.
This project is supported in part by a grant from the Somerville Arts Council, a local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.