Saturday, April 10, 2010

Great Grandmother Godfrey







The latest in my Mything Persons series (this is a working title...).
I started this drawing of my great grandmother Godfrey yesterday - my mother's paternal grandmother. Hmmmmmm, she looks a bit like Elmira Gulch...

My cousin Jon Simmons has been taking pictures of our ancestors' gravestones for the past few years, and has been doing alot of research about the family. I asked him yesterday if he would like to collaborate with me for my show in September. He could show his photos, and I could show my portraits. I think, though, that my portraits are going to be a springboard for something else. I mean, they are fine as drawings, but I want to transform them into another medium. I want to make an installation of Jon's gravestone photos possibly as big Iris prints, or maybe projections? With my portraits maybe digitally printed on sheer fabric and made into wispy ghosts of sorts...
The ghosts could float from the ceiling, along with objects from their lives, perhaps. People in my family have stories and remember bits and pieces about those who've passed: a great aunt who had the first mastectomy in RI, and one who loved to serve tea; a great uncle who hunted rabbits; a grandmother with TB. (There, I've made a poem.) But if I could take some of the objects that usually pack my portraits OUT of the picture plane, and have them floating in the air somehow, along with the ghosts of my ancestors...people and objects that have gone the way of all things, to use one of my mother's great expressions. (Hmmm, could be another title possibilty...)
I have just started hatching this plan...if you have any ideas about this, throw them my way! I could use a studio visit about now!

video

8 comments:

Dean Grey said...

Martha!

The portrait definitely reminded me of the Wizard of Oz but in a really good way!

Interesting idea about pairing your portraits up with your cousin's photos. Whatever you decide it will be awesome, I just know it!

-Dean

KaHolly said...

I think it's an awesome idea! Funny how they never smiled back then. ~karen

Brad Gailey said...

Just spitballin,' I come up with hanging the the fabric prints in frames like windows, and pushing the theatricality of it using a small fan to waft them like curtains. Or after the fabric is printed taking it to the gravesite and doing a very light rubbing of the headstone over the portrait. I myself am working at a manner of mixing charcoal and chalk drawings with oil glazing in layers. Have you done anything like this? It's experimental for me and I would like your input.

Brad

Susan Beauchemin said...

Martha is this the great grandmother that is not blood related to us? Our grandfather's biological mother was a Williams--related to Roger Williams? Just wondering..but I know this lady was very loving and was so totally loved by Mom and her sister!

martha miller (it's all art, isn't it?) said...

Thankyou, Dean! "We're outta the woods, we're outta the dark, we're outta the night! Step into the sun step into the light!"

martha miller (it's all art, isn't it?) said...

Hi Karen!

Don't you think that they all might have had really bad teeth?
:^Z

martha miller (it's all art, isn't it?) said...

Ha ha! Brad, I must say that I have never heard that expresssion before!! Love the spitballs! Great ideas! LOVE the windows and fan idea! I do have a bunch of empty old frames that were given to me by a studio neighbor just waitng for some purpose...
OR. My son is a roofer and has a ton of old windows - I could use actual windows for frames! ooooooh....
also like the graverubbing idea, hmmmm...
I have never used oil glazing - are you doing this on paper? Tell me more about it! I love your charcoal portraits!

martha miller (it's all art, isn't it?) said...

Hey, Sue Z Q!

This is the original Grandmother Godfrey, our biological Great Grandmother. I believe her name was Carolyn. She was Harold Godfrey's mother (Mom's father). She died and Grampa Godfrey re-married the piano legged, braided haired, be-aproned, beloved Gramma Godfrey that we knew.