FIRST AID

Years ago I found an old 1930ís first aid book at a flea market, while visiting my family in Pennsylvania. The photographic images and the text in the book were partly humorous and partly nostalgic, but also very moving. I was struck by the way human beings physically take care of one and other, even with few tools and little technology. These images haunted me-which is often my impetus to make artwork. They touched a certain nerve and a thread of memory in my body addressing issues that I have dealt with as an artist in residence at three Bay Area AIDS/HIV support service organizations for the then past eleven years and also issues of growing up as a Jew in the 1950s, in the shadow of the holocaust. The book seemed to metaphorically speak of the need to be hopeful and to actively work for change, even while we acknowledge that we are in the darkness, with little chance of the possibility for circumstances to improve.

My drawings were influenced by the photographs in the first aid book. They were made by drawing with a Dremel tool on the silvered side of recycled mirrors, scratching away the silver and revealing the painting and text on the masonite board below, while also reflecting the artist and the viewer. The single word on the surface of each piece was similarly carved on the Plexiglass placed on top of the mirror. I chose words that all imply activism-beginning with the agreement that the situation is bad and we are working to make it, at least a little bit, better.