Two Gothic Vessels

Two Gothic Vessels (click for larger)

Jennifer A. Reis
Two Gothic Vessels
(A Meditation on the Madonna/Whore Complex), 2006

Handworked embellished textile assemblage
20 x 30″ (total) 20 x 12″ (each)
$2500.00

 

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(A Meditation on the Madonna/Whore Complex)
:price:2500:end]

 

People give me things: fabric, notions, complexes. Like all good hoarders, I tend not to get rid of anything, for example buttons. Some of these buttons I’ve been carrying around with me since high school (and I’m at the age where I am learning to keep those dates to myself!).

I’ve shied away from using them in art projects because 1) it’s become a crafty cliche, and 2) I didn’t have a decent idea that would use them in an original manner. Because the decorative surface of my work can be overly ‘sweet’ I stay away from overly crafty or sugary subjects so as to hopefully keep the pieces from being saccharine. The buttons are appropriate for this piece due to their feminine connotations, and linked to that, these buttons primarily came from my female relatives, often passed down through generations.

This work developed organically. It was always about exploring the dictomy present with perceptions of women through the format of a diptych altarpiece, but originally I imagined the ‘sugar’ side to be in the image of a first communion dress (in all honesty, this work developed conceptually right after the new pope was ‘installed’, and I became fairly irate after reading in Time magazine that in his mind, the highest vocations for women were either to be virgins or mothers – and I thought, well, I’m outta luck on both fronts). After it was finished, it looks more like a wedding dress, which may be more the point anyways. My favorite parts of the work: that people can’t help but touch the buttons and then realize what they are fondling, and the silver belt buckle filled with bead oopsheres on the ‘sugar’ side ~ not to ever be accused of solely focusing on the feminine, the clasp in the buckle lifts up, giving the piece a bit of, ahem, a masculine element.

Sugar (click for larger)

Sugar (click for larger)

Spice (click for larger)

Spice (click for larger)

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