ICONS, IDOLS & BLASPHEMIES 1990

This work is concerned with exposing the oppressive underpinnings of patriarchal religion - specifically, the Judeo-Christian tradition.  Some of the pieces are interactive; all require a closer look.

Masculinity Complex is my take on male-defined motherhood.  She holds the glowing baby boy on her lap,  surrounded by quotes from Sigmund Freud:

“The feminine situation is only established if the wish for a penis is replaced by one for a baby.  Her happiness is great if later on this wish finds fulfillment in reality, and quite especially so if the baby is a little boy who brings the longed-for penis. A mother is only brought unlimited satisfaction by her son.  This is altogether the most perfect, the most free from ambivalence of all human relationships.  She can expect from him the satisfaction of all that has been left over in her of her masculinity complex.”              

Women on a Pedestal is modeled on traditional statues of Mary, but covered over with news reports of women and girls’ murders,  suggesting we are not honored in this society.  What we are is raped, abused and killed because we are female.  Martyrs text is from Ezekiel 16:35-43, wherein the “jealous” god compares Israel to a slut who must be punished by hacking and beating and burning.  Underneath, vigil candles are inscribed with names from the same articles.  Viewers are invited to light a candle in memory of these martyrs.

“Biblical counsel available to those with troubled hearts.”  If you didn’t have a troubled heart before you read this religious tract, you certainly should have one after.  The pale St. Michael, meanwhile, is Driving the Point Home with a spear through a black devil on a backdrop of wallpaper composed of images of lynched and murdered Black men. The Good Book is a bible which I have highlighted cover-to-cover for misogyny and violence.  Viewers are encouraged to leaf through the pages.  There are only two pages in the entire book which have no highlighting.

Women’s Wailing Wall is a mock-up of the wailing wall in Jerusalem, wherein men file their petitions to god.  I make it a place where women can tell all those stories that we are supposed to keep to ourselves. While both men and women are invited to read the anonymous stories tucked into the cracks, women only are invited to add their own.  I made this installation because every one of my women friends had a horrendous story of rape or abuse, while each thought she was alone in her pain.  I have re-presented these stories as a book, Testimony from the Wailing Wall, with stone covers weighing about 10 pounds each.  The stone must be physically overturned to get to the contents.

Finally, I have re-imagined the goddesses of pre-patriarchy.  Goddess I, made from an old ironing board, is based on a 5c BC stone figure found in Hungary.  Goddess II - Astarte is based on Astarte/ Ashera/ Ishtar legends found in the Bible and other ancient sources.

All pieces ©1990 except Testimony... ©1992