A Living Book

by JoAnne McFarland in Artist Statements

The Issue of Safety

From an extremely young age, girls are told that they are not safe in the world. This message is reinforced in countless ways through the media, social interactions, school curricula, workplace protocols, and family dynamics.
These messages come in many guises: stories about rape, stories about shaming due to difference or daring, the proliferation of enervated, emaciated, blank–eyed young women as cultural ideals, the invisibility and lack of reward for female daring, risk–taking, invention, the cloak of invisibility thrown over menstruation, menopause, coping with the complexities of maturation, partnering, and women’s lust for adventure and hunger for personal agency.

The Rewards of Curiosity

The creative life is a bold choice in that it is an active practice of agency. A reverence and commitment to making is an active, full–bodied pursuit.


A Living Book

The studio installation A Living Book is an open ended celebration of the process of invention. A months long meandering endeavor, the parts of the installation are not permanent, and function holistically, arising off my studio’s walls and windows as emblems of sacred space. This space is internal as well as external, and serves as an extension of my body.


Stenciling as a Means to Composure

The act of stenciling is healing in nature, a meditation against violence and the resistance to change that characterizes many acts of violence.

Stenciling references the insistence throughout human history of using mark–making to create meaning, and for what we learn to be gifted and treasured across time.
By ‘setting type’ letter by letter, by willing into existence a haven against the message that my life must made safe by others in order to be livable, I give myself the luxury of becoming naked on my own terms.
And safe within that revelation.

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