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Second Chances

In mythology, the phoenix dies by bursting into flames and rises anew from the ashes. Unlike the phoenix, which arises as powerful as before, a person may not return to the identical status, success, or ability as before but, with effort, good fortune and dedication, may still accomplish significant feats. The specific fall from grace inspiring this work was the resignation of Richard Nixon from the American presidency in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal. While never fully overcoming the Watergate stigma, by the time of his death, he had acquired a reputation for expertise in foreign affairs, and his funeral was attended by former Presidents of the United States, the Secretary General of the United Nations, and numerous dignitaries including Presidents and Prime Ministers from countries around the world. The message of this work is to take full advantage of any second chances you may be offered.

The "fall" is symbolized by the broken dollhouse replica of the chair former President Nixon used when in the Oval Office. The chair has fallen down backward and three of its four legs are broken. The bottles of alcohol above the chair represent attempts to dull the embarrassment and pain of disgrace.

The possibility of a second chance is represented by the “fireplace” at the right, made of dollhouse picture frames, wood and fabric, from which a phoenix rises. Three of the four legs of the Oval Office chair stick out from the fire, indicating the need to overcome. The representation of the phoenix originates from a text from the Middle Ages. The photograph has been digitally modified to blend with the colors of this assemblage.

Above the fireplace hangs a necklace designed with amber, Murano glass, and freshwater pearls. Hints of gold throughout brighten the dark-toned work.

Custom framed with museum glass in a sophisticated deep wooden frame in collaboration with Chevy Chase Art Gallery, Washington, DC.

Frame color: Black

Size (in inches): 10 x 14 x 4


Though many designs appear simple, each work in fact takes several months to create. The final version is rarely the one initially envisioned; the laws of gravity force numerous adjustments. Execution involves a multitude of skills, some of which are acquired specifically to achieve the desired artistic result. In fact, it took several years of experimenting before I even hit upon a technique for creating assemblages. 

The framing process is itself a component of the work, both conceptually and artistically. Though the frame is clean and modern in appearance, the framing process is not as simple as it seems. The determination whether to create a "room" (as with Born Free) or an intimate atmosphere (as with What Price Silence) is in fact part of the artistic process.  

Works are custom framed to provide sufficient depth to accomplish my artistic goals as well as to support the weight of the work (often 40-60 pounds). The 4-inch deep decorative wooden frame curves outward to bring the work closer to the viewer.  

As many designs are supported by the base as well as the backing, the framing process can be tricky. It took several months of experimentation to determine how to create a work that it was practical to frame. The glass protects the work from damaged caused by dust and dusting.

Assemblage silver frame model.jpg
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