The natural world has many intrinsic similarities. I am fascinated by my realization that the root of a plant serves a similar purpose to the intestine in the human body. I am amazed at the complexity and mystery of the stars and the distant galaxies and struck by how much a satellite picture of that vastness resembles a microscopic image of our blood cells. I am intrigued by medical specimens; the idea that a small container can hold part of a plant or human for examination and study. I am drawn to intricate vines that cover houses and walls, as though decorated with lace. My work explores these many natural affinities and phenomena, drawing attention to the similarities that exists between our humanity and the world.

 

In my current work I am interested in the ways that our bodies record history––from marks we acquired at birth to scrapes and cuts that define our life’s story. I have also been fascinated by the studies of hysteria and the way in which inward emotional turmoil can be displayed outwardly. I use the figure, often an adolescent or young woman, to represent someone at the cusp of their adult life. Images of pressed plants, lace and figurative elements are layered upon each other, representing delicate veils of memory and the disquiet past.

 

My work also includes collections of objects, like perfume bottles and lace doilies, objects that have a function but are beautiful and precious at the same time. The objects, cast in solid glass and no longer useful, serve as a reminder of one’s life with each item standing for a space in time or a significant event. Themes of object as memory, ritual and obsession and uneasy layers of time are present in my current work.

 

A new publication, Keepsakes, is available at lulu.com

© Mary Jane Parker 2013