Manus (2023, Santa Fe, New Mexico)
Across my practice, I examine questions surrounding faith, spirituality, and religious institutions. I probe into the relationship between belief systems and human behavior: how prescribed moral structures influence our care and perception of self and others.
In 2021, I devised a social media campaign--a public invitation asking people of all faiths and beliefs to contribute one pair of gloves to a collaborative work of art that explores the act of prayer. Their task was to sit with a pair of cotton gloves, wear them, and mark them with red ink as they form a prayer or affirmation for a single recipient--Caspian, a five-year-old boy living in New Mexico who suffers from severe seizures. The mark-making process is like a moving meditation, and allows spoken words and rituals to become evidenced, as if a prayer could occupy physical space. I received by mail nearly 2000 gloves from people all over the world, representing eleven countries, and an astonishing assortment of cultures and beliefs.
I hand-dyed the marked gloves using Indian Madder Root pigments. I then shaped the gloves over wooden molds and cast them, creating varied gesture and lifelike dimensional form.
Upon installation, I suspended the gloves from the ceiling in an undulating, organic mass, together with hundreds of hand-made brass shepherd’s bells which moved and rang with gentle breezes through near-by windows. The floor is covered in white volcanic ash collected from the mountains of Okeh-Owingeh Pueblo, New Mexico. Beneath the gloves is a child-sized bed covered in a woven blanket marked with a hand-inked pattern representing the star of Bethlehem. The initial installation pictured here was a private viewing for Caspian and his family; the following photographs and video represent Caspian’s interaction with the piece. The piece will be installed in its entirety for public view in 2024.
Installation View of Caspian at the Window, from the project Manus, 30x40", pigment ink on fiber rag, 2023
Installation View of Caspian on the Bed, from the project Manus, 30x40" pigment ink on fiber rag, 2023
Detail:Installation View of Caspian on the Bed, from the project Manus, 30x40" pigment ink on fiber rag, 2023
Daily Bread (Size: 30"x40"), Caspian in the Blue Room (Size: 30"x30")
I produced two photographic portraits of Caspian, the young boy whose family was the recipient of prayers and affirmations from volunteers around the world. In the decommissioned chapel, seated in a small parlor near the large glove installation, I created a smaller installation. Referencing traditions of religious painting, I painted the room a deep blue, and gilded the wooden trim with gold leaf. Using hand-made rubber stamps, I applied to the walls a pattern, displaying images of the star of Bethlehem and a dove in flight. A lush floral altar occupies the floor, comprised of flora sourced from the chapel grounds and a variety of symbolic fresh flowers. A rescued chair is the seat of the altar, re-upholstered in gold chenille. Caspian holds a loaf of bread, symbolizing daily spiritual provisions which are essential to his family’s Christian faith.
Every Pair of Gloves
(Size: each photograph, 10"x10")
I photographically documented every pair of gloves that were included in the suspended installation. The variety of mark-making on the gloves is extraordinary; volunteers employed a multiplicity of expressions, including repetitive meditative patterns, symbols, stamped images, intricate drawings, and written text. Printed on transparent, fragile handmade Japanese Washi paper, these photographs will accompany the installation in the 2024 exhibition, arranged on the wall in a large grid. This image is a composite of 1080 photographs, detailing every glove submitted for the project.