Posts Tagged ‘Hudson’

Books

Posted in on October 17th, 2011 by karendavis – Be the first to comment

Visual Memoir

The McCann Family by Karen DavisThe McCann Family 2008. blurb. 7.5″x7.5″. 34 pages. Photographs and text by Karen Davis

When my sister died, I inherited “The McCann Family,” dolls that she played with throughout childhood and kept with her all her life. Cheryl pretended she was Tom McCann, spunky and misunderstood. I was Mary Ann, Mother’s favorite. When Tom couldn’t stand on his own, Cheryl fitted him with crutches and braces like hers. (She had spina bifida.) Arranging the family in scenes, she created her private world.

Decades later, I place the four inch dolls on stage, directing their actions. I present my photographs in book form where the dolls are actual size and in large format prints to bring the McCanns and memories of childhood to life.

To the Flag: A Parade & Memoir to the Chimes of Freedom

To the Flag by Karen Davis: a parade and memoir to the Chimes of Freedom.
Photographs and text by Karen Davis, 64pages, blurb. 8″x10″, 2011

Thoughts of patriotism, social activism and the flag in Hudson NY occasioned by the annual flag day parade. Sixty-three photographs, personal essays and lyrics to song by Bob Dylan.

Central Square: volume 1-almost home by Karen DavisCentral Square: volume 1 – almost home, photographs and text by Karen Davis,
Docutech, 18 pages, 8.5″ x  5.5″ 2004

My move to Central Square, Cambridge MA and how it changed everything.”The greatest distance I ever leaped was from a charming bungalow at the end of a suburban lane to a shabby apartment on Western Ave.  It was Spring, 1973…..”.  Twelve photographs, personal essays and poems in sixteen pages, produced on Docutech.

Central Square dvd, photographs and personal essay "Leap of Faith" by Karen Davisdvd, Central Square, photographs and text by Karen Davis, 50 images and personal essay,
“Leap of Faith” 4 minutes,
produced by Mark Orton, narrated by Karen Davis

Artist Book: Beach Snapshots and Memories by Karen Davis
Beach Snapshots and Memories by Karen Davis, 2003 artist book, 10″ x 6.5″ x 1.5″

Timelines, snapshots, photocollages and memories of growing up through a series of stories and pictures at the beach from ages 6 to 15. Handmade codex, quilted covers.

"Adila", mixed media assemblage, by Karen Davis“Adila”, mixed media assemblage, by Karen Davis
Archive of photographs, books and objects,  15″ x 12″ x 4″, 2000.

A portrait of my mother. Includes books: The Ida Davis Book of Yiddish Expressions, The Ida Davis Book of Everyday Expressions, The Ida Davis Song Book and Aidila – An introduction to my mother. Forty business-card-size snapshots, two portraits, letters, a paid bill, Scrabble pieces, a baby bracelet, mourning ribbon, slide viewer and flame of memory.

My Left Hip: life as art, art as life - French Door style artist bookMy Left Hip: art as life, life as art. – French Door style artist book.
9″ x 12″ Personal Essay, 20 diptychs by Karen Davis, 2004
above, 1) book closed; 2) left cover open
below: book leafs open creating two diptychs

Photographs from hospitalization for hip replacement, paired in diptychs with fine arts paintings, sculptures, mixed media samples. Essay of childhood wish to be different like my sister and then confronting something wrong, fifty years later (and not liking it very much).

Diptych examples from "My Left Hip" life as art, art as life. French-Door style artist book by Karen Davis

Collaborations: Karen Davis and Mark Orton

Pretension: all about us by Karen Davis and Mark OrtonPretension: All About Us, photographs and text by Karen Davis and Mark Orton.
34 pages. 7.5″ x 7.5″ blurb 2009

“This year, Mark Orton and Karen Davis are the couple of the moment. While last year their efforts had an air of dry conceptualism, their present work breathes new life into contemporary appropriation……” From original multiple ed of 10, 2006.

My Left Hip

Posted in on November 3rd, 2010 by karendavis – Be the first to comment

Art as Life; Life as Art

#7 from My Left Hip: Art as Life; Life as Art by Karen Davis

It was a shock that the pain was arthritis and that only surgery would help.

Photographing the event, before and after anesthesia brought a feeling of control where there really was none. I photographed the hands of all the players in my hospital stay – from surgeon to blood tech; from occupational therapist to housekeeping.

When I was recovering, I began to sort through the photographs of hands I regularly make – samplings from paintings, sculpture and other media –  when visiting museums.  I found pairings – thus the diptychs and a French-Door artist book were born.

My bum hip reminded me of childhood when my sister’s physical handicaps made me jealous for attention.  The story follows the diptychs.

 

#1 from My Left Hip: Art as Life; Life as Art by Karen Davis

 

 

#01 from My Left Hip: Art as Life; Life as Art by Karen Davis#3 from My Left Hip: Art as Life; Life as Art by Karen Davis#4 from My Left Hip: Art as Life; Life as Art by Karen Davis#5 from My Left Hip: Art as Life; Life as Art by Karen Davis#6 from My Left Hip: Art as Life; Life as Art by Karen Davis#7 from My Left Hip: Art as Life; Life as Art by Karen Davis#8 from My Left Hip: Art as Life; Life as Art by Karen Davis#9 from My Left Hip: Art as Life; Life as Art by Karen Davis#10 from My Left Hip: Art as Life; Life as Art by Karen Davis#11 from My Left Hip: Art as Life; Life as Art by Karen Davis#12 from My Left Hip: Art as Life; Life as Art by Karen Davis#13 from My Left Hip: Art as Life; Life as Art by Karen Davis#14 from My Left Hip: Art As Life; Life As Art by Karen Davis#15 from My Left Hip: Art As Life; Life As Art by Karen Davis#16 from My Left Hip: Art As Life; Life As Art by Karen Davis#17 from My Left Hip: Art As Life; Life As Art by Karen Davis#18 from My Left Hip: Art As Life; Life As Art by Karen Davis#19 from My Left Hip: Art As Life; Life As Art by Karen Davis

old snapshot my sister and me after oxfords

Fallen Arches

When I was eight, I was highly motivated to help the healing profession find something wrong with me.  Years of tagging along to outpatient clinics with my mother and younger sister, Cheryl, disabled from birth, had most likely unleashed this desire.  I finally succeeded when the orthopedic resident at Children’s Hospital in Boston brought my mother into the examining room and, in a quiet voice, said, “Well, the x-rays don’t reveal very much, Mrs. Davis, but it does look as if Karen may have fallen arches.”

Heaven!!

Fantastic!!

He wrote a prescription for arch supports and advised that I wear sturdy oxfords.

Finally!!

Two weeks later, I had arch supports and a new pair of brown Stride Rites.

My exhuberance faded within months as I realized there would be no patent leather Mary Janes for me.  As soon as I grew enough to require a new pair of shoes, I declared myself cured and never looked back…. for more than a half a century!

A Post-Midlife Procedure

Half a century later, the periodic shooting pain in my groin was beginning to intrude on my life.  I assumed the problem was tendons and tried stretching more.  Sometimes the knife-like pain appeared while jogging on the treadmill – sometimes not.   I switched to the recombinant cycle – I took fewer walks – I stretched. Maybe I was pronating. Maybe I needed arch supports.

My internist recommended an orthopedist. I had X-rays and met with the doctor.

“You have arthritis in your left hip.”

“What’s the cure?”

“Hip replacement surgery.”

(Insert expletives here).

I got a second opinion.

“You have arthritis.  The only cure is surgery.  You’re certainly a candidate; but some people prefer to wait – others, not.”

He suggested ibuprofin.

Okay!

“You might try a cane,” he continued.

Oh no!

Does it hurt going up stairs?

No.

Does it hurt lying down?

No.

Within two weeks it hurt on the stairs;  within three, lying down.

I called his office, “How fast can we get this done?”

We set a date five weeks ahead.

I have confidence in the medical profession, but surgery means a loss of control.  You’re in someone else’s hands.  Not just the doctor, but everyone connected to your treatment.

For this reason, I assigned myself a task – something that could  provide me with a sense (false) of control.  I would document my experience with photographs.  If I was to be in the hands of strangers – their hands would be in mine.

On our back deck that warm August evening before surgery, Mark and I shared some wine and I began my project.  The first “subject” was a stainless steel model of an artificial hip – an artifact/paper weight from Mark’s days in MIT’s bio-mechanical lab.

At 6 a.m. the next morning we reported for surgery – my first post-midlife “procedure.”

Everything went well.   The staff – to a person – was kind and helpful.  They were also agreeable photographic subjects.

While I was in the hospital, Mark built a recovery room for me.  I needed to be on the same floor with the bathroom and kitchen for a week or two. He cleared space in my studio and bought a mattress and box-spring. Then he built a twin-size bed – complete with headboard and reading light; purchased and set up a dvd player with surround sound, and positioned my ibook on  a TV table within easy reach.

My recovery went smoothly.

  • Four days in the hospital.
  • Two weeks in my studio (then sold the bed on Craig’s list.)
  • One week with a shower stool.
  • Three weeks with an adaptive toilet seat.
  • Two weeks on crutches.
  • Three weeks with a cane.
  • Eight weeks of special exercises.

I no longer had to weigh the idea of walking to the Square.  No more cane or anxiety about the next sharp pain.  No more distress on stairs. I resumed sound nights of sleep and work outs at the gym, – although getting there enough continues  to be a challenge.

Nowadays, I’m only reminded of my foreign body part at the airport.  My left hip sets off the anti-terrorism alarm.  I’m scanned with a beeping metal detector and patted down as I stand spread eagle, stare off, and pretend no one notices the frisking.

A small price to pay.

Performance Art: Hudson’s First Halloween Parade

Posted in photography on October 31st, 2010 by karendavis – Comments Off on Performance Art: Hudson’s First Halloween Parade
Another day, another Hudson/Warren Street Parade.  This one promises to be a new tradition. Parents, children, adult children – inventive costumes and plenty of spirit.  Watch for Superboy passing the Davis Orton Gallery, belo3rd.

The Ball-Shaped Pain from “The McCann Family” Series at Center for Photography in Woodstock

Posted in dolls, family, photography, portrait on August 20th, 2010 by karendavis – Comments Off on The Ball-Shaped Pain from “The McCann Family” Series at Center for Photography in Woodstock

photograph by karen davis, "The Ball-Shaped Pain" from the McCann Family portfolioLast fall I received the CPW 2009 Artists’ Fellowship Award. In addition to a cash prize to help me pursue my work, two of my photographs became part of the of the Center’s print collection housed at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz. I used part of my award to upgrade my camera and part to enroll in two workshops at CPW one with Keith Carter, the other with Dawoud Bey.  Last weekend was the hands-on, inspirational class in Portrait with Bey.  I was happy to see that, in addition to two larger exhibitions, my photograph, The Ball-Shaped Pain from “The McCann Family” series was included in a smaller show of recent acquisitions by the Center.  There is a larger exhibit curated from the Permanent Print Collection at the Dorsky.