The title for this post comes from a b-side to the single “Sweet and Tender Hooligan” by my beloved band, the Smiths. With melodramatic proclamations like, “Hate, love, and war / force emotions to the fore / but not for me, of course / i keep mine hidden” the song only obliquely relates to the gauzy collage below.
I completed this piece as part of a Printmaking class at New Mexico State University in lovely Las Cruces. The details of the assignment are lost, but the image remains – and in remarkable condition considering the fragile materials used – and my shameful disregard for accepted archival practice.
It was conceived as an exercise in exploiting actual depth in what is normally considered a two-dimensional work. The translucent ‘gauze’ is layered on top of the foundational image, that both reveals some of what is below it, but also obscuring it bit by bit and layer by layer. It bears mentioning that the gauze is actually toilet paper. We had been instructed to use the bathroom tissue for a previous lesson, and I had some left over.
Bits of found organic material are embedded between the layers in some spots. You can find pine needles, a flower that looks like a starfish, and some other dried-up piece of flora. This not only reinforces the 3-dimensional nature of the work, but also adds visual and thematic interest.
I think it’s a happy accident the strips of phone numbers is both the top-most layer *and* actually the most concealing/opaque layer of all. I really just added it at the end because the composition still seemed a bit boring, but it seems to tie in thematically somehow. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.
The pine needles placed in the figure’s mouth-area remind me alternately of sharp teeth, but also the stitches you sometimes see over dead people’s mouths in movies.
What meanings and associations do you find in the images contained within this picture?