It was jarring and scary when COVID hit. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and my only daughter has physical and mental disabilities. We were terrified for our lives of catching COVID-19.
The act of making art is a reliable source of grounding for me. The process helped put into perspective the reality of my and my daughter’s vulnerability to this new and deadly disease. I was compelled into assessing my life’s choices – those made by me and for me.
For “contemplation of my life,” I selected keyrings – a device almost everyone uses to secure the things needed to access homes, workplaces, vehicles, storage containers, etc. The catalyst of success and failure in life.
The work is hung on a dried branch. It appears to be quietly awaiting the artist to return to amend, once again drape her body or act as a reference as she chooses to bind another ring.
The twisted wire represents decisions made and is used to link the pieces of my life’s journey together. Creating the pattern of my past that spills into the present.
Because of my arthritis, there is a great deal of variation in the twists of wire. Each day of the process brought different challenges depending on how I felt. Some days were easier than others. On the most painful days, each twist became a success and a reminder that this slow action was a vehicle to build grace within me and recognize life is not always easy, but always worth it.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Barbie Perry is a multidisciplinary artist working in Peoria, Illinois. Her art practice began in 2015 at age 55. Her work focuses on feminism, self-disclosure, and social justice to engage viewers and provide opportunities for gentle discussions of uncomfortable topics.
Within her community, she was co-president of the Illinois Art League and founder of the “The Bi-Monthlies,” a collaborative exchange project for visual artists and organizations serving the Visual Arts. The Bi-Monthlies were sponsored and partnered with The Peoria Riverfront Museum, ArtsPartners of Central Illinois, and the Peoria Art Guild. Barbie was also an administrator with the Emerging Artists Collective and currently sits on the Exhibitions Committee of the Peoria Art Guild.
Her current studio is located at North Art Studios in Peoria, Illinois. She was a Resident Artist at the Prairie Center of the Arts, Peoria, IL, from 2017- 2019. She was featured in Project 1612’s Central Illinois Studio Visit during her tenure.
© Barbie Perry