Friday, August 26, 2011


I wanted to grow up to be the artist that paints beautiful birds and flowers like the prints that hang on the walls in a Bank.

However, three separate incidents of violent rape profoundly influenced  the imagery on my palate.

When the ‘Rape Piece’ came to me, I was horrified.

It had been challenging enough that right in the middle of love-making with my finance - two weeks before our wedding - I collapsed in a visual cacophony of pain.

 One minute I’d been riding the peak of multiple orgasms.

The next moments were filled with full-visual-screen, larger-than-life images.  Of angst-filled women.  One cellulose square - a million miles tall - at a time. (Except they - every one of them - appeared grotesquely real.)  Each a female, enlarged butt up, hands wrenched behind. The faces looking directly into me.  As if there is a core  of woman-grief that taps right from the center of the earth.

These figures came in slow motion:
Every color, every age, every shape woman that’s ever been.
All in the same prostration.

I came out of it when I heard someone screaming. I actually felt myself come back (as if from another world) when I had this thought:  ‘Oh my God. Someone needs my help.’

It was me who had been screaming.
And it proved nearly impossible to explain what had happened. (Since I had no idea myself.)
But the images coalesced into one primary figure.
She wore my face.

At some point I realized that maybe if I actualized her in the world, I could stop carrying her 
wrapped around my heart.

It took four years of sewing and huge mounds of fabric. I had to learn Batik to make the background and Macramé to get the binding rope just right. The hand is cast with plaster-saturated fabric, sealed in Marine Epoxy, and copper-wired into place.

By the time she was finished, the ‘Rape Piece’ had a name and I was in a totally different phase of my life.

My hope for this work was always that someday,
she’d hang in a Women’s Museum or perhaps a Rape Crisis Center.
Some space where the allowing of her grief (and mine)
might be a permission-giving catalyst for other women to feel in theirs.

Because without allowing the feeling of the enormity of the pain, recovery from sexual trauma does not fully happen.

Instead, for the past eighteen (18) years, the piece has stayed with me.

Until the 13th of August 2011, at SLUTWALK DC, when this powerful image marched to the Monument, carried by several wonderful women!

Her coming out was fantastic.
So now …

I’m looking for a home for her. A place where women can find solace in the presence of the truths in the stories she carries.  Because the ‘Rape Piece’ (unfortunately) isn’t just my story. According to current UN statistics, this work holds the feeling for one out of three (1/3 !!) women.

If you, or anyone you know, are aware of a space
that would like to permanently house this work,
Please contact me.

The Rape Piece
is approximately 7 ½ ‘ square.                                                   
                                                                                       (detail of head)                                

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