K. Johnson Bowles

Positive/Negative Self-Talk (For Melissa) (2019)
mixed media assemblage
18 x 18 x 2 in.

While this body of work is not about a particular religious belief or cannon, the series title takes its name from the St. Veronica legend. It is said Veronica wiped Christ’s face with her veil during his journey carrying the cross. The image of his face miraculously left an impression on the cloth. The series Veronica’s Cloths explores the residual nature of physical and emotional experience in a contemporary context of my experience as a woman.

The works represent flashes in the mind’s eye and suggest an untold drama of violation, loss, anger, grief, pain, and shame. The images are photographs of details from paintings displayed in museums or flowers in gardens. These details taken out of context suggest clues to a more complex narrative drama and beg the question, “what happened?” I’m searching for truth and seeking healing from what haunts me.

Each work is a collage assembled on a vintage handkerchief in a manner purposefully pointing to that which is “grandmotherly,” wise, and reflective. The unexpected juxtapositions of familiar materials, emotionally-charged images, and menacing objects (insects, spiders, snakes) are designed to attract and repel the viewer – an uncanny valley.

artist’s website

© K. Johnson Bowles