Icon Series

Icon is a collection of sculptural objects and soot images that examine Queen Elizabeth I as image-maker, cultural producer and historical female rebel. Ditchley Collar is a sculptural lace collar made of wire-wrapped and welded steel parts that are thread together with steel wire and freshwater pearls. Draping from the collar are strands of "pearls" that are bound with handmade cotton lace and woven into the steel collar. Ditchley Soot Portrait is a drawing created by depositing soot from an acetylene torch directly on the canvas, that is then removed with jewelry polishing tools leaving a gray scale image in a variety of textures. Only a flat white silhouette of Elizabeth's grand lace collar and strands of pearls remain, like a ghost of a symbolic object of power. Elizabeth remains an icon because she understood the importance of presenting her image of authority and agency through her portraiture. I see Elizabeth's desire to control her image through portraiture as akin to maintaining an online identity in contemporary culture. Using traditional craft techniques to reproduce symbolic objects from her portraiture allows me to interrupt the original purpose of the portrait and insert my desire to assert "role reversal" of material gender associations by beautifying steel and turning lace into the strong, structural material that holds the art object together.