I am a sculptor who for nearly 40 years has created public monuments and personal sculptures that address the complexities of history, race, human rights, disabilities and the power of poetry and music.
My largest public commission, unveiled in 2003, was for the Boston Women's Memorial on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston's Back Bay. It has since become an icon and site for celebration. Likewise my Memorial to September 11th, based on a sculpture I made just after the attack, was installed in New York City's Cathedral of St. John the Divine and is a magnet for those seeking strength and inspiration to work for peace.
I will soon complete the FDR Hope Memorial, which chronicles the transformation of Roosevelt Island, NYC, from an outpost of quarantine and penal servitude to a center for healing, research, and pioneering inclusion. I've been inspired and sustained throughout this six-year process by the progress of my severely autistic son, who is now in college.
22" x 18" x 2" Bonded Marble 2015
As a sculptor, I delve into the history of art for the most powerful weapons I can employ to link past and present. I use beauty and skill to slow people down, to give them time to think about the symbolic resonances that emerge with time and to address complex issues without simplification. The traditional imagery portraying the Madonna and Child is full of realistic, delightful and poignant details: the mother’s hand holding the child’s foot, the child playing with a bird, fruit or flower, the mother’s glance full of premonitory sorrow. I made my sculpted Mother both proud and wary, although one of the gifts of bas-relief sculpture is its responsiveness to lighting, and her expression changes with different angles of light.
I got the idea for my bas-relief sculpture after the 2012 massacre of children and teachers at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The shooter was the 20-year old son of a single mother, a “gun enthusiast”, whom he murdered before driving to the school in her car. Reports at the time described her as trying to “reach’ her disturbed son by buying him guns and taking him to shooting ranges. After his rampage, he shot himself.
Mothers are Dangerous Women, because their feminine influence on the thinking, feeling and behavior of humankind is so pervasive. It’s so profound that we have, traditionally, referred to our largest and most powerful vessels, ships and nations, as “she”. We have visualized our nations, in allegory, as strong, nurturing, watchful and fertile women: mothers. My allegorical Mother might be America, teaching her children to wield real weapons.
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