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Morocco...heroines...business

 becoming another

1984 Morocco

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That which has been, it is that which shall be; and that which has been done is that which shall be done; and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing whereof it may be said, see this is new; but it has already been in the ages before us. Ecclesiastes 1:9-10

1996 Journal Entry

My aunt had seemingly boundless energy. She always tried to fit twice the amount (at least) of activities in than anyone else. A vacation with her was exhausting and had to be educational. She taught and wrote young people's books.

Unfortunately for her she didn't understand YP (Young People) want to have fun; not lectures or work in their leisure hours.

All those hours of research and writing were lost to the ages. She is remembered fondly; she gave me my first 'calling card' at the age of 13.

A small rectangle with Linda Vi Vona engraved in the absolute center. Who did I give them to?

We four; mom, son, friend and I left for a vacation in New Mexico. Much trepidation on my part; can't use the bathroom on the plane and need help getting my clothes on and off anyway. Well getting to the seat on the plane is another arduous and stressful situation. The disabled are boarded first, everyone watches as you're wheeled up the ramp to the doorway. From there a transfer to the tiny aisle chair and four straps assure one that nothing moves. Like a mummy pushed to the seat (supposed to be bulkhead but not always) and a sliding transfer. The last one off and there's always a stop over to Albuquerque!

Off again and an airport aide to assist me, inside and back from the ladies room. A complete stranger in the booth to depend on handling both body and fragile emotions.

We make it back to the plane. I'm thinking of seeing my family and the break from routines in therapy and home life.

Once again those red rocks and clear blue sky. Over the mountains there are incidents of rain. From range to range a varied weather.

The log house looks cozy and inviting. It was difficult to remember it from that last visit. Filled with wedding guests and household business.

The Jemez River gurgles pleasantly and the cottonwoods a change from maples and oaks. My granddaughter is precious. Whenever I'm truly blue I visualize my progeny and move on.

Going anywhere takes a lot of organizing and discussion after all there's seven of us. They are still working at the restaurant and we guests try to make ourselves useful. Mom does the clothes and dishes. Dylan helps move me; works with his dad and entertains his girlfriend.

The bakery/restaurant is owned by my daughter's mother-in-law. A deck overlooks the winding road and mountains. It's wood and rustic with wild flowers and window boxes. Everything tastes delicious especially eggs with tortillas or tacos. A very special treat for all of us; but especially me since my mornings are usually routines of seven years making.

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1984 Newsday

 

 

 

We took a vacation of ten days in Morocco27 Bob's treat; he had a friend staying in Tangiers; it would be nice to visit.

   We're on our way to Safi from Casablanca. It's Sunday, early evening and in this town, Sidi Smail, the townspeople gather around the cafes. Two men hold hands while haggling over  a piece of lamb carcass. 10/7/84

Marrakech 10/10/84

   It is evening, we have spent the afternoon at the souk after sleeping last evening at the same villa at the Hotel Marakena. Upon arriving at the outskirts (city) we realized that we had no idea where to go to find a hotel. The Villa Marrakech was much more complex and larger than originally imagined. As we checked our maps in the car a motor bike and rider came alongside us; and he, Mastafa, asked if we had a hotel (after speaking in many languages to ascertain which was mot convenient). His offer to show us where was accepted. All this led to a room at the Hotel de Las Ma's. Then dinner for two with three in the center of the city. Most restaurants close at 10. This one plied us with a lot of food, wind and 'stuff' to smoke at the table!

Tetouan 10/15/84

On our way south to Casablanca we stopped ostensibly to buy Dagna's gift. The city looked o.k., medinas, nice parks at main roads and intersections. We took note of our relationship to the sun and walked towards the souk. The first shop that was open since it was midi, etc. was a jewelers. There were some pieces of seed pearl necklaces with draped multi strands and earrings. We bought a pair 18K, jade for Dagna at 190 DK or $20. She should like them! Most of the shops were closed but we started wandering and soon became immersed once again in the multi sensational experiences.

There was a beggar of many rags, his jallabah sewn crudely together, a leper who wore his sack around his neck. Someone had put bread inside it so that he could reach down and eat with only his mouth useful. I placed 20 cent on the ground not knowing what to do. A young boy picked it up and placed it inside the sack.

Finally deciding to leave, we were lost. Walking towards what we knew to be a general direction down.

Unfortunately a scar faced boy of 12-14 decided to accost Bob with a knife demanding money. We were lucky, men in the front and back of us yelled; as did I. Bob went to hit him with the shopping sack. He ran off.

Our plane was delayed. A stay over in Madrid! What a cosmopolitan city; the Prado a refreshing belief in civilization. How I loved Europe once more.

I was glad to be home there was the house and children and work.

My latest series had begun before the trip. While taking my daily walk; I found some stake-like pieces of wood thrown out from a picture frame shop. I went back with the car and trotted them home. The garage had been converted into a real studio with sheetrock, insulation, a skylight and ceiling fan and lights. Ready now for a new body of work; the wood an inspiration.

I started a totem-like structure, angled stakes became an abstraction of a dancer. For some reason it appeared to be Joan of Arc; I went to the library and began research on her. The figure was painted red.

With the help of Dagna I tore down the wisteria vines around my trellis. The gnarled and twisted wood reminded me of Mother Theresa! The next piece...and a series on women (heroines) became evident. A journalist in tRuthSt.DenisSculpture.jpg (16999 bytes)own wrote my experience as an artist in an article for NEWSDAY. Pictured is the piece for posterity.

On another meander through the village and alongside the harbor, I found a squished drainpipe. While in the library a book on Ruth St. Denis (1984) caught my eye. A photo of Ruth, long white hair, hands dramatically poised  and a leg that somehow looked like my newfound piece of junk.

Bob was a book/junk/everything collector. He would see my work and zero in on something he had stored in a garage in Mineola or would go to scrap purveyors and pick up metals in various forms for me to use. Ruth had a mantle made of green plant tubs; leftovers from his landscaping business.

There were paper interpretations that led to 3D ones; the more I read the more I meshed with the women. Felt like they guided me to create their image in such diverse ways. After I didMargaretMead.jpg (29165 bytes) the enamel/silver painting of Margaret Mead (1984) with two heads and torsos meeting in reverse in the middle  I found out she was bisexual. My portrayal came from imagining being her in New Guinea and seeing her reflection in water as modern and primitive (New Guinea).

So too with the sculpture; after finishing I saw a photo with headdress just like the one I had soldered. The pieces were becoming increasingly complex. Margaret was brass including cymbals, mesh, chain, findings and sheets...difficult to solder and cut. I really required professional equipment but settled for torches and mini-propane tanks. The studio filled with paper pieces, raw materials and finished sculptures.

Amelia Earhart was next, having wanted to be a pilot or at the very least an aeronautical engineer; I settled for art when the high school refused my requests to take mechanical drawing and aeronautics. Well after reading a lot of materials Amelia Earhart (1985) 

manifested as a bulbous free form of sprayed and riveted aluminum that hung from fishing line. The charcoal drawing of aerodynamic triangles was too difficult to translate dimensionally so I copied an airbrush version that actually had a female form in mind.

Queen Theodora (1985) was an exercise in perseverance. Eight feet of cut out squares and related shapes to look like mosaics. A Styrofoam ball was covered with actual tiles and hung from the ceiling.

'Heroines' was the name of the one person show designated for the Discovery Gallery in Glen Cove. Jo Anne Petruzziello helped plan the layout with a maquette complete with figures. We created temporary walls of foam core. The space was totally transformed. Julius Vitali and Terry Niedzialek were young artists affiliated with HHAA. They helped move the heavy pieces in their truck. The drawings were all about 4' x 8' and required a large van.

Hundreds of people attended the opening. Bob bought Spanish wine and the association supplied enough appetizers to make the evening totally festive.

Joan Harrison had taken a clear head shot of Ruth which I used for a poster. Her husband Michael Ach took installation and publicity shots.

Michael Randall printed up the invitations from my design and Northern Type printed the poster in two colors, maroon and black. With all that support how could I fail?

Once again a pall fell over me. No major critic wrote about the show. Did I do something wrong? Lillian prodded the critics. Helen Harrison told her she wrote enough about me already.

To work for a full year on major pieces, to create an exhibit totally innovative and not make a stir is an incredible blow to the ego/id/angst/etc., etc. It's an ephemeral thing; art has no guarantees...one is an artist and that's it. Of course it's difficult not to self destruct. I had my ways.

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