Getting ready for Pulse

Since last summer, I have known that I would have new work – an entire room of large pieces and installations – in an exhibition this February through April (2013) at the Strathmore Mansion in Bethesda, MD.  The show is called Pulse: Art and Medicine and is curated by Harriet Lesser.  My inclusion in the show stemmed from my involvement with the two Courage Unmasked auctions (2009 and 2012) and the embellished radiation masks I made for them.

The next few posts discuss the pieces I have made for the show and the process I went through preparing for my first focus on larger work made to be shown together.

I have always incorporated biological and mathematical themes in my sculptural work, but the Courage Unmasked pieces – the focus on a particular subject matter and the concentrated time and effort around the fundraising project – forced me to think a bit more deeply about the narrative and symbolism of the work I was creating.  That experience was invaluable as I prepared for the Pulse show.

Brain Teaser (2009)

View from Within (2009)








For the first three months (most of the summer of 2012) I searched online and in books for inspiring images, letting my mind wander as I made work for other shows.  I found it very hard to get started with even the experimental, exploratory part of physically making work for the Pulse.  Perhaps I was a bit daunted by knowing that I would have an entire room to fill.  Perhaps I was intimidated by the knowledge that I really could make anything I want.  I knew that I had permission to work in materials other than my usual paper shrunk over wire.  Perhaps I was stunned by so much freedom.

Eventually, I started by falling back on something familiar.  The first piece I started was a variation on the mask I made for Courage Unmasked in 2012.

Beauty and the Beast (2012)

Beauty and the Beast was a reflection on the conflict between the beauty of the HPV virus (represented here by a 1/2 model of the virus’ structure) and the beauty of the patient (in this case, my mother-in-law, whose mask I used for this piece) and the virus’ destructive properties.  I painted the mask silver to evoke the image of the beguiling and devastating robot from the 1920s movie Metropolis.

“Deconstructing HPV” includes the entire model of the HPV virus and I will discuss it in the next post.


Deconstructing HPV (2013)


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