Artist Statement for Now Lie in It

Now Lie in ItDuring a conversation in my studio, one of my graduate professors remarked, "Your space looks more like a weird science lab than a sculpture studio." At the time I was experimenting with organic forms and layers of transparent surfaces; creating a sense of both external and internal space that that related to issues of body-consciousness and the internal psychological self. It occurred to me, then, that this activity had extensive autobiographical roots.

My mother, a PhD biochemist, has spent the last ten years doing research on limb regeneration. My father is a sculptor and arts administrator. As a child I spent my after school hours with art students, my summer days in research labs. Watching my mother at work now, I see a crazy, brilliant, determined artist. Watching my father I see an analytical intellectual, searching for solutions from every conceivable direction. This work is not about my parents, but they are the ones who taught me to speak. My visual language continues to be informed by life experiences…birth, death, love, sex, loss, anger, hope, empathy, fear, illness…universal experiences that for each of us are highly individualized and intensely personal.

On one simple level, Now Lie in It represents the merging of my experiences with my parents, and the ongoing investigation of my own identity. But this work operates on multiple levels. The title, itself, is both precarious and loaded. Most people recognize this as the rapprochement of and old adage about personal responsibility; "You made your bed…" But does lie mean "to recline" or "to deceive"? If we are talking about personal responsibility, shouldn’t we also examine larger issues of social responsibility? Do images of illness speak only to our individual physical conditions, or do they extend to question the health of the society we have created?

Now Lie in It detailAll of the laboratory glassware and equipment was discarded from various research facilities in order to make room for newer, more advanced and often disposable lab ware. As millions of dollars are spent on research and development of designer babies and better sex lives, people suffer and die daily of curable illnesses. For me this begs the question, Has a true sense of humanity become as obsolete as these marvelous instruments which helped to find cures and relieve suffering? The installation seeks to question issues of accessibility, as well. Not only the accessibility of basic human needs such as health care, but also equal access to knowledge and information.

Julie Day

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