myFather/myself: ode to alojz, 2003, 43"w x 43.5h x 5"d opened, combine painting
This piece is a hommage to my father... who was the greatest influence in my early chilhood. I was his 'son'. This gave me carte-blanche to be the most that a person can be. He made it clear that as a girl I could do anything... same as a boy. This was a very profound wisdom on his part... remember this was the '50's (before women's lib and feminism). I helped him build extra rooms to the house and helped him make his own wine every autumn. He didn't speak very much, so our relationship was an intuitive dialog. He was a very gentle man with many (internal) demons.........
This combine painting is about him and me and my family history... it was made around the time of his death (just before) when I was totally obsessed with his death (as he had been sick for 9 long years and his death was an extremely slow and long process)........
I found this old fashioned wooden key cabinet (possibly from a hotel or apartment building) at a Salvation Army store. I worked on it, using my father's dress patterns that he'd made as a tailor. There had been literally thousands of them in the garage and in the basement were he used to work. I took only a few carefully chosen pieces from his collection.
On the inside I included a small child's tool set and used very specific items that reminded me of my father. The very short, worn-down pencil (he was notorious for using short pencils), spools of thread, the "A" alphabet block letter, tailor's wooden ruler, a leveling tool, a picture of my family when I was 6 months old; the large paint brush as a flame nailed to a small christian prayer book inside a frame, all on top of a Rabbinical College (hebrew) diploma. And throughout are hand written letters to my father as I painted... very emotional letters. I could not speak the words to him directly.
I attached two large thread spoons as handles on the outside of this cabinet and tied it with rope cord to keep it closed. It is about 4 feet high (the height of a child).
On the day of his funeral. I wrote my father a letter on one of his patterns which I’d already painted on sometime earlier, because I wanted to give him something and leave something with him. I wrote on it as I cried and my tears are there, too. I folded it and closed it up and tied it up with rope and left it with him. My hands on his patterns. It was buried with him.