Thursday, March 18, 2010

Left Behind

A cost of war? Little girls posing alone in photos to send to their fathers overseas. Click to see details.

O N   W O O D — This piece uses several images from the first World War period. The photo of the little girl, my mom, was taken in 1919 in Connecticut. The images on the sides include postcards sent back home from an American soldier (her stepfather) in France during the war. There are also pieces of an early 20th century train map, showing the route Connecticut soldiers would take on their way to Boston or New York to deploy. One photo shows 4 women of the era fishing, normally a "man's" job back then, but all the available men had enlisted. This piece is approximately 23 x 15 inches on a piece of pine.

Quick research shows that approximately 8.5 million soldiers died in the Great War, more than 21 million troops were injured, and close to 8 million POWs were listed as missing in action* during this 'war to end all wars' fought from 1915-1919. The Armistice was signed on November 11. 1918, and the final treaty was signed at Versailles on June 28, 1919.  By the way, what we now call "Veteran's Day" the eleventh of November every year, was originally called "Armistice Day" in honor of the end of WW1. My parents called it Armistice Day until the days they died.

Just a note about my pieces in general: While all of my work is based on the treasure trove of antique family negatives/prints I've inherited, I try to make my pieces 'universal' as well. It's my feeling that when you look at a painting of a person from another period, 100 years ago, 500 years ago, you don't know the person in the painting personally, but you respond to the universals in the image. This is what I try to do with my work too—I really don't think the viewer needs to have known my mother to be affected by this piece. In fact, this piece now resides in Colorado with my great Vassar friend, Gail. She never knew my mother, or family for that matter, and this piece touched her heart enough to bring home.

*Wiki Answers:

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