Magazine article Conscience

Violence in Religious and Sexual Imagery. (Roundtable)

Magazine article Conscience

Violence in Religious and Sexual Imagery. (Roundtable)

Article excerpt

I AM TRYING TO UNDERSTAND OUR species' propensity for violence and the degradation of others, and have noted that two common sources of depictions of that inhumanity are found in religious (specifically Catholic) and sexual imagery.

The idea for combining the two types of images came to me when, a few years ago at a New York City flea market, I looked through a box of old black & white bondage photos from the 1950s. I bought one that showed a woman whose arms were tied straight out from her sides in a crucifixion-like manner. My first image "blend" was an attempt to combine that image with the full-color image on the inside front cover of the missal I'd received in first grade, at age six--that of an emaciated, bloodied, dead man whose hands and feet were nailed to a cross.

I don't make these images to shock or offend, but to try to come to a better understanding of the concepts/perceptions of spirituality and sexuality, acceptable and unacceptable behaviors and images, veneration, arousal, morality and objectification. The longer I've worked on this project, the more questions I've raised for myself. I'm hoping to get closer to understanding faith, true love, reverence, pleasure, eroticism, fear, control, power and how and where any lines or boundaries get blurred or crossed or forgotten.

My show "A Look At Violence In Religious And Sexual Imagery" opened in February 2002 at Gainesville's Santa Fe Community College (SFCC). During the months preparing for the show, there were times when I couldn't work on the pieces. The depictions of horrific things, no matter what the intent, became overwhelming. I'd hoped, perhaps naively, that viewers would explore how wrapped up in violence two of the most powerful forces in the world are, and be concerned about how it affects all of us. …

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