Hidden away in the corner of my studio is a large Plexiglas cube with a gas mask inside. To explain about this artwork, one has to look back to the first President Bush and the first Gulf War, called “Operation Desert Storm”. After Iraq invaded Kuwait, a coalition of countries and the United States, invaded Iraq in 1991. Young men were sent there, with gas masks, and many subsequently suffered from a disability labeled, “Gulf War Syndrome”.
I am an anxious person, and my incessant worries about personal and political matters are consistently reflected in my art. In these two examples, I am concerned about the consequences of chemical warfare, and of war, in general.
The painting is self-explanatory with an actual gas mask, still firmly glued to its surface after all these years, using plumber’s Goop. Oil fields are burning in the background.
Finding gas masks took an arduous search of many Army Navy supply stores. For the artwork using a Plexiglas cube, I had to find someone to construct the cube for me, and I wanted it to have an open slot in the top. The mask was placed in a shallow wooden container constructed by my husband, which I surrounded with sifted beach sand. I then made black and white prints, in small squares, of the faces of young men, about the age of my son. These were seemingly dropped through the slot and scattered around the gas mask. I entitled it “Drop Your Entries Here”
The latter piece was accepted into the Orlando Museum’s highly competitive annual juried exhibition. The night of the opening, my beautiful daughter attended with me. She wore colorful, arty attire and her dark hair was piled high above her head into a whatnot. Of course, she was greeted as the artist of this “out-there” piece, and not her ole mom. Later, she did go on to get an art degree, and create her own social statement pieces.