Tuesday, May 19, 2009

In the Folds

In the Folds, 2008

hand embroidery, applique, and beading on wool felt, cotton

72” x 29”

In the Folds tells the story Pa Shaw Pah told me about her escape from persecution in Burma, the refugee camp in Thailand and the hardships of starting a new life in Pittsburgh. Traditional Karen protective tattoo patterns of elaborate, oval, symmetrical Buddhist designs worn by her ethnic group merge here with the cartoon characters her toddler son absorbs on TV in Pittsburgh and the housekeeping cart that she wields each day in a local hotel. Jewish Children and Family Services have assisted in her settlement and commissioned the piece. The Hebrew letters spell out the guiding torah passage for their work: “Justice, Justice, you shall pursue.”(Deuteronomy16:20)

Psyche's Secret at Mattress Factory

Psyche’s Secret

rice, bulgur, couscous, poppy seed

9’ x 11’


Oozing in from the window, loopy, graffitiesque letters spell out the words, “someone is helping you.” Inspired by the story of Cupid and Psyche, Psyche’s Secret, the installation references tasks that Venus designed to foil Psyche. Just when she was about to despair the impossibility of separating a mountain of grains, an army of ants offered to come to her aid. I find Venus’ words of retort strangely comforting.