From childhood, Hillary Clinton strove to be the best at everything. Her ambition burned hot and she believed that hard work would have its rewards. This is a book about Hillary Clinton’s rites of passage – moments filled with triumphant joys and bitter disappointments. Her life and career is shaped by memories and lessons learned from exposing too much of herself – too smart, too plain, too feminist, too financially successful, too capable, too comfortable being her husband’s equal, too willing to forgive her husband’s sins. Because she was smart, she learned to cover over her vulnerabilities and swallowing her anger at the unfair and rough treatment. As she grew older, she downplayed her intellect and spoke in platitudes. Ironically, those who hate her never believed in this good, public Hillary. They will forever remember her as Lady MacBeth with her “consuming ambition, inflexibility of purpose, domination of a pliable husband, and an unsettling lack of tender human feeling, along with the affluent feminist’s contempt for traditional female roles.”[i] In contrast the collective memories of those who supported Hillary will forever see her as a strong, honorable, humanitarian feminist brought down by the male establishment. In Rites of Passage, I’ve mixed real and false memories, assigned words that Hillary may or may not have spoken publicly. True or not, these words and images represent the anger, disappointment and triumph I shared in empathy towards a political figure that I have never met but deeply admired.
2017 artist's book, 20 pages, pamphlet stitched, 10" x 10". Paint and ink on Braille.
In late 2015 I started a series of Hillary paintings in anticipation of her becoming the first female President. The works were intended to bring a smile and serve as positive antidotes to the vicious, negative attacks on Clinton throughout her campaign. After the election debacle, I did not have the heart to finish these paintings. The canvases sat around in my studio for a year until I couldn't look at them any longer and started to paint over them. Serendipitously, a friend visited my studio and remarked on my symbolic act of erasure. It turned out to be the right way to express what has happened, not just to Hillary but to women's rights around the world.
"Erasure III" Aug 2017. Mixed media with candy wrappers and acrylic paint, 30" x 40"
"Erasure II" Sept 2016 - Aug 2017. Mixed media with candy wrappers and acrylic paint, 30" x 40"
"Erasure I" Sept 2016 - Aug 2017. Mixed media with candy wrappers and acrylic paint, 20" x 16."
"Erasure V" Aug 2017. Mixed media with candy wrappers and acrylic paint, 20" x 16."
"Erasure IV" Aug 2017. Mixed media with candy wrappers and acrylic paint, 11" x 14"
"Erasure VII" Sept 2016 - Aug 2017. Mixed media with bandaids and acrylic paint, 16" x 20"
"Erasure VI" Aug 2017. Mixed media with candy wrappers and acrylic paint.