I was tired of not having time to work on projects, my job was all consuming and I was pissed. One morning as I entered the labs "work" reached out to me in a different way, a new project and a whole new world opened up. The everyday scenes took on new life. The mannequins are just a shell void of a soul but have a sweetness to them that some find charming, others find disturbing, but they do evoke an emotion from us.
The uncanny valley is a common unsettling feeling people experience when androids (humanoid robots) and audio/visual simulations closely resemble humans in many respects but are not quite convincingly realistic.
Saint Barbara, one of the 14 Holy Helpers and Protector against Lightning
Having grown up in the Catholic Church and been educated in catholic schools, I began to wonder about my namesake, Saint Barbara. On researching, I was surprised to find how much that is written about her correlates to significant dates and passions in my life.
Legendary virgin martyr of the early church, Saint Barbara is venerated as one of the 14 Auxiliary Saints (or Holy Helpers); she is listed as being the protector against lightning and fire, and against sudden and violent death. Since early childhood, I have been fascinated with violent storms and lightning. Before and during storms, my dad would take me to the beach to watch the surf and sky put on their show.
In 1969, during Vatican II, Saint Barbara was absolved of her cult status and she was dropped from the official Catholic calendar of saints. That same year I graduated high school and started walking a different path in my religious belief.
The idea for this project began when I found a few items in my childhood jewelry box. They were things from my days attending catholic school: a rosary, a scapular (worn under your clothing and draped over your shoulders), and a Faith Hope & Charity charm. Why had I saved these few things for so many years? I started to think of the blessings and sacraments that these items represented and how far removed I am from that now. I still believe in God, but do not participate in any formal church.
These nine images represent the sacraments and blessings I received, along with two images of prayer. The tissue on my head is what the nuns would make me wear when I did not have a veil or school beanie during church time (I can laugh about that now). The memory of walking down the church isle and lighting a votive candle each week is a positive one, because I could say anything I wanted in my prayer and it was personally mine.
“It can take considerable initiative simply to find our deepest beliefs. It takes additional commitment to develop effective ways to express those values. Both parts of such a project require enormous tenacity.” Jonathan Young