I am about to expand upon a new series of artworks that explore the cultural construction of identity through personal adornment. It will result in four wearable metal objects and related imagery and will be completed during my development leave this fall. This series, You Are (the) Here, is inspired by the historic relationship between body adornment, the idealized self and the souvenir that has been indicated by such things as pilgrimage badges of the middle ages, neoclassical dress in the court of Napoleon Bonaparte and nineteenth century micro-mosaic jewelry. Jewelry as a format of expression is inherently defined in relationship to human scale and therefore to the human experience. In this multivalent program of research, manmade public elements that have become particular and familiar through repeated contact are used as personalized signifiers of place. These are rendered in miniature in painstaking detail and precious materials to become body adornment that may be used by the wearer to take on the constructed identities of these personal/public spaces. 

It all began with a gas meter.

I pass this every day that I take my daughter to or retrieve her from daycare. Located behind an industrial building, the wall behind is an easy and frequently used target for spray painters. Each time the wall receives these unauthorized markings, the city is contacted and a crew paints over the newest batch. Apparently the city of Fort Worth has a handful of different “neutral” shades that they use to cover up these markings and the paints used have not remained consistent to the site. The result is a warehouse-size color field painting in neutral tones. This serves as the backdrop for the now-familiar gas meter. Most weekdays I pass, noticing the changes to the wall, admiring the effect and how it seems to stage the gas meter and make it special.This went on for some time before it hit me: the gas meter wants to be a bracelet. And I want to wear it. 

To be continued...

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Masthead Credits

Harriete Estel Berman

"The Cost of Gun Violence"

Artwork for the exhibition "Imagine Peace Now" organized by Boris Bally
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen


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