There is a line, so difficult to lay down, but perhaps easy to cross. A line where another feels uncomfortable, perhaps even violated. A boundary is blurred and a moment lives on in infamy in the mind of the confused. I am interested in these moments where two people see different realities, and how those realities play out over a lifetime in a family.
Once, as a child, a family member kissed my neck, their lips dragged along the skin, between the kisses. Though not sexual, they were certainly sensual. I felt deeply confused, I didn’t know how to process what had happened. Was it normal affection? How to I react? That moment changed my understanding of my place in the world, my relationship to boys and to men, and to my family. What had seemed clear, became precarious.
I wanted to share that moment, but avoiding an automatic trigger to inflame, or shock. Thus the woman on the bed can be a loving mother, the kneeling boy, can be listening intently to words of comfort, or the scene can play out as mine did, with confusion and distrust.
In the painting, the plant, the lights, the askew picture, all seem alive and grasping, all reach for the boy, mimicking the woman’s grasp.
A picture on the wall shows a woman wearing a contraption on her head that appears to keep her from moving just as the mother’s hands keep the boy’s head still. Another of a knife stuck in bread has a Georgia Okeefe erotic quality to it.