DO YOU READ ME?
One Step at a Time: Styrofoam/Plaster/Found Objects/Collage/Acrylic, 13” x 19” x 7”, 2002.
This book piece is intended to thrust the spectator into a nostalgic awareness of innocent childhood games and the reality of existence---broken bones, accidents, injury, wounds, and healing. The use of the rusted antique skate and the anatomical foot relates directly to the idea of a step taken, perhaps in the right direction, or perhaps a slip and fall. The conflict arises with the adult labels that are seemingly applied to the young girl (virginal, vaginal, literal, clitoral, marginal). Somehow, it seems wrong. Innocence versus experience. Both necessary. Both circular.
Baby Book Styrofoam/Plaster/Found Objects/Collage/Acrylic 19” x 25” x 10” 2008
Using the book form as an anchor for some of her work, Janet Davidson-Hues continues to examine the book as a repository of culture, memory, and narrative, containing metaphorical weight and meaning and standing for devotion to education and a certain authority, which she is at once embracing and challenging. On one hand, the book and language speak of male dominance and on the other hand, the book serves as a metaphor for woman, something to be read, to be bought and sold, to be held, to be taken to bed.
Pardon My French: Styrofoam/Plaster/Found Objects/Collage/Acrylic, 19” x 25” x10”, 2008.
Davidson-Hues chose a nonfunctional book form on which to make public her thoughts about women's place and plight, turning language inside out and wringing it so as to force out whatever meaning she could. The work became highly literal, poetic, cliché-laden, paradoxical, loaded with word play, and began to suffer from information overload. She moved toward economy, using actual altered books rather than book forms. She ripped out the pages, eliminating all knowledge, information, and narrative, rendering the books useless and impotent vessels, forcing viewers to fill in the blanks.
Silent Shoe 2002 Acrylic/Styrofoam/Plaster/Found Object 13" x 19"x 10
When women walk quietly so as to remain unseen and unheard, it's the same thing as their voices being silenced. This piece is quiet and empty and hopeful that a viewer will provide the quote written by a ghost writer (as in anonymous was a woman).
Daniela 2004 Acrylic/Styrofoam/Plaster/Collage/Found Object 13" x 21" x 8"
Woman with Three Birds 2006 Acrylic/Styrofoam/Plaster/Collage/Found Objects 13" x 19" x 9"
The intrinsic contradiction in the book as a symbol is at the heart of the artist's words, which are structured as scripts of behavior and confront irreverence, anonymity, contradiction, and misinterpretation. Articulated in a singular voice seeking to express the realities of existence as she sees them, her work defines the female experience as a fusion between outward awareness and internal perception.