I have chosen Venice Italy, as the backdrop for my current group of work. This group focuses on the lives of 10 prominent women, who lived during the long decline of Venice as a major world power. It was a period of great decadence, elegance, and beauty.
With varying backgrounds, each of the women was adventurous, and often challenged the social mores and ideas of their era. After much research, I worked to reconstruct the aesthetic of the period and each woman’s personal and historical circumstances. They included the first woman in the world to earn a doctorate degree, two women who spoke out boldly for women’s rights, an artist who traveled the world painting European nobility, and Casanova’s mother, an actress, who left her family to follow her career.
Another aspect of this work involves church reliquaries. During a recent trip to Italy, I became fascinated with reliquaries and the revered objects they held. In this manner, I decided to make paper objects to represent each woman, and install these personal items as though they were holy relics.
Although every part of the creations is made solely with paper, they appear to be constructed of precious metals, made opulent with jewels and stones. This signifies not only the women’s importance, and the scope and depth of their accomplishments, but also references Venice as Europe’s major trading center. I selected a color palette to reflect the historical period, in hopes of bringing the viewer back to this fascinating period in Venetian history.
Each piece is accompanied with a small booklet that features a portrait of the woman on the cover. Inside is a quote, either by the woman, or a quote written about her by one of her contemporaries.