Cloister Series

Cloister Series

A series of 10 "First Stroke" ink paintings on 2x4" photographs of young women.  The women's eyes were masked during painting and so are the only visible parts of the portraits... though the ink encroaches.  

The tiny paintings visually reflect the the sheltered, cloistered lives of these turn of the century, affluent women... who may have had much comfort, but were (by our standards) limited and contained... And now they are four generations gone and made more anonymous by time.

The photographs are "Carte de Visite" or "Cabinet Card" photos popular from late-nineteenth century through the first years of the 20th.  This photography is recognized by thin photograph paper pasted to heavy card that often bears the photographer's name and address.  Many of these particular photographs are dated on the reverse1898-1901.  (Two are shown above).  I've owned these and others for 40 years.  I purchased an antique album (long since disintegrated) in [West] Berlin in the 1970s.  

I used some of the womens' images in other work, especially "Madwomen & Murderesses" 1996, where their likenesses stood in for women who were never photographed themselves.