PASSING COMMENTS 1989-2021

Passing Comments, a wall collage of 400+ photographs is a personal and poetic mediation on a particular feminist history. Arriving to teach in a visual arts department in the mid 1980’s, this work documents everyday life at work. Over the course of a decade, comments made embedded in my mind. Years later, I created small figures using chopsticks, Styrofoam balls and pipe cleaners and photographed these figures in various relationships to each other. I then pasted the remembered comments onto the photographs creating poignant, and at times intense scenarios. Over time, I accumulated approximately 400 photographs with pasted text including; contact prints from Polaroid and 4” x 5” film negatives on fiber- based paper, pin hole camera photographs, B&W Polaroid 3 3/8” X 4 ¼” and B&W photographic enlargements 4” x 6” and 8” X 10”.  Photographs were then mounted on foam core, card and paper and were sometimes layered with digital colour, ink and paint. These photographs, were then taped directly to the wall in a large patchwork configuration. I titled the work Passing Comments as an ironic comment on the seemingly incidental nature of the remarks.

you cry to easily and when you cry the tears don’t run down your face they pop right out of your eyes – you can’t take criticism, you need to learn how to take criticism – it’s in your blood – you don’t have any ideas, you start making work without an idea, I always have an idea before I begin making a piece – you don’t make art any more – you should rethink your tenancy in the studio – you try to make things out of garbage you need to spend money on real materials – you are ridiculously moral – your student, get rid of her – people don’t want to look at dark and depressing photographs, you need to make something more cheerful – you should wear more make-up, you used to, and it looked good – you are too full of ‘shoulds’ – you need to have a child, you should get pregnant – your work has no form – you have to understand that you are a very conservative person – you spend the evenings at home rather than in the studio, you need to spend more time in the studio – you need to make better work – you always have ‘shoulds’ for everyone else – you need to make something people want to look at – you cry an awful lot – it’s in your nature,you cannot change – you should have a child – your work is too full of subtleties and innuendo, your work should be more direct – you have been poorly trained – you hang out with them you should be here – no one knows what you are talking about – your work doesn’t have proper form – you are too much of a “Nurse Nancy” – you can’t stop it – you think your work has content but it doesn’t – you are too anxious – you are far too moral – you are actually a very repressed person – you should learn how to make things properly – your behavior is completely unacceptable – you spend too much time over there in that office – you don’t need studio space any more – you don’t work with expensive enough materials – your student, she is a total drag – you are too liberal – you need to make something people want to look at – you have been spending too much time with the wrong sort – you feel you need to spend time with your husband – you spend too much time at work – you are too sensitive – you cry an awful lot – you need to make better work – you don’t get enough exercise – you are deeply repressed – you should use proper tools – you can’t help it.