Excerpt from the text behind the image:
Every Sunday morning at 5:30 am, my mother gets out of bed, gets dressed, and drives to St. Mary’s Catholic Church. Sometimes, I had to go with my mother if no one was else was home. For an hour every Sunday she would sit and pray, in an empty room with nothing but an altar, some stained glass windows, and a golden box.
The reason for this is the golden box contains the bread and wine, which according to Catholic tradition, becomes Jesus’s body and blood. Church practice states it must be watched over and adored at all times. This is sort of a second job for my mother. If she cannot make her scheduled time, she has to find someone to fill in for her. And she often filled in for others. So there was always a chance I would be plucked from the excitement of my 5year old life and placed in an empty room where I wasn’t allowed to make a mess or a ruckus.
Most of the time I would spend the time sitting on the floor with my toys, reenacting the battle of Sarlacc with my dress shoes doubling as battleships for my Star Wars figures to ride in. Every now and then I would poke at my mom in some impish attempt to gain attention, but she would be on her hands and knees locked in prayer. I asked what is in the golden box on the table and she would eventually say, “Jesus is in the box.” The altarpiece did have some kind of shiny reflective window in the center, which I stared at for hours hoping to see Jesus’s face inside peering at me from some other dimension.
As I grew older I stopped believing in such things, but as an artist I struggle to make anything as perplexing or as fascinating as that which my mom believed held the greatest miracle of all time.
Here I used an image that was originally made by Thomas Kinkade. I read somewhere his mother was a big influence on him to “capture the light” for everyone to see. He is dead now, I hope wherever he is he isn’t upset I used his image. This landscape looks like somewhere I’d like to be. This is the image I imagined with the pacific coast would look like. My home is nothing like this, there are no majestic trees or rocky outcroppings along the coast of Oklahoma. My mom has a print of the image above the other mysterious box of my childhood, the television.
I still want to believe something is inside the golden box, whether it is Jesus, the Wizard of Oz, or even Thomas Kinkade. I suppose that is what my mom would want me to believe anyway. That is all she ever asked of me. I am content to keep looking sometimes just in case she is right.
Since the days of the Kodak film camera, families have been able to produce albums upon albums of snapshots of everyday life. With digital photography, we are capable of even larger databases of personal mementos. The Family as Verncaular explores the pictorial language of the family photograph utilizing digital techniques and found imagery. The family album often contains within it memories of happiness, mundanity, and loss. These are the narratives of everyday life. Participating artists Margaret Hiden, Libby Rowe, and H. Jennings Sheffield construct work that provokes viewers to make references to their own memories and experiences.
Margaret Hiden’s series 15 Glen View Circle, was inspired by her grandfather’s recent struggles with dementia and memory loss. In her work she has taken selected family album photographs from the past and layered them with imagery from the present. The older images contain people and events that are long past, while the architecture of the home is still present in the layered images. The interior spaces in the work become a metaphor for the mind as a tangible space.
In the photo installation (sub)Division, Libby Rowe is exploring the concept of the “neighborhood”. Upon moving to her new home in San Antonio, TX, Libby was both baffled and inspired by the suburban landscape. Libby began to collect family photographs from friends and complete strangers around the neighborhood. These photographs were then turned into 3d sculptures that are placed along the gallery floor in a cul-de-sac. The work asks the audience to consider the humanity of the inhabitants of our common suburban dwellings.
Jennings Sheffieldʼs photo series Tethered visually portrays a specific period of time during different days of the week. Using a mathematical formula, she breaks down the daily images into vertical slices and then reintegrates them into a single image. Each print represents what a two-hour period of time visually looks like across the span of a number of days as she balances being an artist, mother, teacher, wife, and daughter throughout the week.