When designer and RISD colleague Patrick J. Hamilton requested art works to be offered for his vignette for Design on a Dime’s Housing Works Benefit Auction, which assists in housing people with HIV/AIDS in New York City, I was compelled to create a unique work of art. The piece (below) will be installed at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea 125 W 18th Street (between Avenue of The Americas & 7th Ave), in New York City, (April 26–28th).
When Patrick described the color and character of his possible installation, I began thinking of saturated crimsons, magnanimous magentas, hot and fleshy pinks, siennas, creams, controlled dove greys and misty charcoals—colors which ’til now I’d rarely used, at least in such quantities, and I became excited by the possibilities for the project. I had also read an article Mr. Hamilton had recently written about performer Madonna’s impact on him personally, for the LGBT community, and for an entire generation. Always up for a challenge, I began work on what would become the start of a new series: Chaucer’s ‘Madonna,’ Lady of Bath.
In Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, the Lady of Bath character is arguably among the most interesting; provocative, a probable vocal reformer of her time and challenger of social mores, she represents what a few performing women artists today represent in our culture. So as I read about the ‘gap-toothed,’ outspoken medieval game-changer, her robes, ways and words challenging the complacency, stigmas, and social phobias of her time, I began to think more and more of the role such women artists play in today’s world. What do their circumstances prevent and/or provide? How can their art help heal and bring our culture’s murky shadows to titillating light? How can I, “express myself”?
Details from the work: