The variety of space within the Cardinal Stritch University gallery (Milwaukee) inspired the organization of this work. The center sections of the gridded glass exterior had personal ads surmounting tiny (1”) dome-encased figures. The tower inside the gallery included a telescope for viewing a panel mounted opposite. The panel was covered with small texts (horoscopes, fortunes, etc.) and objects of fate and desire (amulets, wishbones, dice, etc.). A sheer curtain with hundreds of personal ads divided this area from the lower-ceilinged back section. The central axis of this second area had vintage telephones on the interior passage; the exteriors of each supported a giant romance novel (6’ high). The back wall bore a 12’ long Ouija board, while each corner featured a huge device of desire: dice, wishbone, rabbit’s foot, or horseshoe (8 – 9’ each). The exterior walls were covered with fragments of romance novel texts. Fictions thus established the visual and voyeurism as components of longing. The telescope served as a tool of frustrated desire, creating the illusion that one’s object was within reach. The outsized scale of the second section reinforced the sense of loneliness, while its subjects articulated a poignant hopefulness even in the face of a failure to connect.


Surveying Desire XII: Fictions

12'4" x 44'7" x 56'
mixed media
2004

 
   
 
a)

view from exterior

  b) detail: window/figure (DWM)
   
 
 
 
a)
view of front: windows, tower, panel, curtains
  b) tower
  c)
panel
  d)
detail: panel (Ouija pointer)
   
 
 
a)
view toward back: curtains, telephones, Ouija board
  b) detail: curtain (ISO Petite Lady)
  c)
orange telephone
  d) Ouija board
   
 
 
 
a)
view to left back: orange telephone, dice, wishbone
  b)

dice

  c)
wishbone
   
 
 
a)
view along back wall: Ouija, novel, green telephone, rabbit’s foot
  b) novel (“Burning Desire”)
  c) rabbit’s foot
   
 
   
 
a)
rabbit’s foot/horseshoe
  b)

horseshoe

   
 
© 2006 Carol Emmons