Simulacrum

Simulacrum, 2004/20 / installation / 18 cut and pulp painted translucent Dobbin Mill papers between sheets of glass

Paper size: 42” x 23”

Simulacrum was initially commissioned for an exhibition at Baltimore’s Jewish Museum, Weaving Women’s Words, that responded to oral histories from the National Jewish Women’s Archive of women born in the early decades of the 20th century. When reading these texts, I was most struck by the numerous omissions, the emotional or complicated parts of life that so often are not included in such testimonies. Nine large glass and paper lambdoid forms stand in a cluster. The papers within are filled with these women’s many words, pulp-painted with a graphite-pigmented pulp on both sides of translucent abaca paper. Because of the paper’s extreme translucency, my handwriting on both sides appears to entangle and become one: a complex mesh of lines. Additionally, the paper was cut out between the letters and sentences, removing the ground. A simulacrum is that which is made in the likeness of a being or thing. I used this title as an acknowledgement of the testaments recorded and to honor all that could not be said.

 

Additional thoughts:

What is apparent is this tangle of written words are the parts of the translucent paper that is in between, made brighter by the lighting.  These empty portions are my focus as they highlight all that was omitted: the many details of these women’s lives & backgrounds that they either chose not to include or could not talk about.  And these parts of life are significant, as they are the blood & guts & emotions that makeup who we really are.

 

The feminist issues that are reflected in the work are in a synergy with the concept of interlinearity:  Because women in so many ways remain fettered & voiceless, we are relegated to reside ‘in between the lines.’