Wednesday, February 13, 2008

she looks like---everyone

Another artist in my life is my step mom, Jill. I remember some of the first pieces she created and humbly hung in their house. I also remember trying to connect her persona to that of an artist (sort of like I do my Auntie's foul mouth to the daintiness of her home decor). But it was a marvelous surprise and to see that my step mom's art had form and shape and figures and I could actually see things and people and to make a little sense of it was a trip.

Just before moving back to Texas from California where I had a 12 year affair with the beach state, my Dad’s family had a huge Texas style family reunion--a tribute to honor my Dad's life and family. My sister, brother and I were so proud and fortunate to have adorned this beautiful piece of artwork across our chests on T-shirts Jill had made especially for the occasion. She titles it Monkey Wrench. I do know enough about the work to say it’s abstract. The history behind why she painted it and why the unusual name is only for her to tell. It's not my story.

The male is my father; the female is my paternal great grandmother who surprisingly to me had Jewish ancestry.

Like Audre Lorde’s little protagonist in “The Fourth of July,” my Dad too looked at his grandmother when he was a little boy and could not piece together the attitudes and differences between races---because his grandmother looked like everyone. A little story he shared with me some time ago.

My step mom’s artwork is always a surprise to me. I have not seen anything of late or new; it’s been a while, but I’m sure whatever she’s up to and in between her travels, the birth of a great piece of art will follow.

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