Throughout my travels I have collected images of public art that exemplify the ideals of world cultures. These artistic models are often classical, mythological figures that personify a society’s ideology. They are positioned in public squares, parks and institutions, which concretely and metaphorically emphasize their monumental characteristics.
When an ideal reveals certain human characteristics or qualities not all community members possess, then the same object of beauty can promote attitudes of intolerance and prejudice toward those who don’t share these attributes. I’ve been collecting newspaper articles in all languages – concurrent with the photographic images – that report horrendous acts of violent hate crimes motivated by intolerance and prejudice.
The Public Myth attempts to capture this paradigm. Ideology can fill a social need or divide a society. It can inspire beauty or turn people into monsters committing random acts of violence against one another.
My formal and conceptual concerns are integrated into my selection and use of materials. I’ve printed classical images (attitudes written in stone) on Arches paper coated with photo emulsion. The images were toned sepia to evoke a timeworn quality. I juxtaposed the images on layered, toned, multilingual newspaper articles and headlines reporting acts of hatred motivated by corrupted ideologies. I’ve built deep wooden frames, stained in dark mahogany with oil patina, to describe metaphorically the importance of keeping these attitudes confined. The images have been crucified with handmade rusted nails. Some boxes are framed with gold colored glass (symbolic of how ideology perpetuates ideas), while others are closed with heavy screens (filtering hatred as if through a sieve to rationalize its occurrence). The symbolic language used to articulate this concept required combining vocabulary in a challenging and unexpected manner.
Artist statement courtesy of Patricia Park
Heidelberg International Center, Heidelberg, Germany (1992-1993)
Photo Center, Berlin, Germany (1991-1992)
University of Texas, Austin, TX, USA (1969-1973)
Silver Medal, International Federation of Photographic Art, Spain (1997)
Medalla Gaudí, Institut Municipal d'Acció Cultural, Reus, Spain (1998)
Fine Arts Award, East Texas International Photography Annual, Commerce, TX, USA (1985)