Robbin O’Harrow

photo etching, hand work on Japanese paper
24 x 37 in. 

These printed pieces of repeated imagery is a part of a body of work using family photos of women dressed in “costume” for specific events in their lives. This particular five-panel piece is a documentation of Betty’s five marriages. Betty wears the same gown but the bouquet changes color for each ceremony. The dates and names of each couple are printed on the lower portion of the wedding gown image.

This work speaks of the deep substructure of expectations intended for women. Betty is searching for her safe place in a relationship, the reason for her existence. The work is ironic, humorous and sarcastic. The Betty project speaks of the “make believe”. Beyond this humor is the frustration and struggles that she faces. The work addresses the complexities of Betty’s life. But Betty does not give up on the romantic notions of marriage; she was once married on Valentine’s Day and also New Years Eve.

Photo images are cropped and blown up than printed onto large sheets of Sekishu, an almost fabric like Japanese paper. The five sections are pinned to the wall to give a sense of a cloth. The poster like size cannot be ignored while still keeping a visual pleasure to draw the viewer in. The etchings are hand colored with oil bars and the documentation of the wedding dates are on the bottom of the image much like a seating card.

© Robbin O’Harrow