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Saturday, November 7, 2015



1946 -1960s: My sculpture career began early. I remember sitting at the Montano family dinner table, making what I called "teensies" by rolling up torn off pieces of paper napkins into miniscule long strips and then further rolling them until they were tensile strength linear squiggle-like "lines" that I could then place alone, together or in a group of Stonehengeish arrangements for my own viewing pleasure. Dad would respond with, "Hands, ( his name for me ) , concentrate on eating your supper," while I gathered my "sculptures" from their hiding places among the fork, knife and spoon gallery of objects which were supposed to be used to eat the then American fare of the 40's: meat-loaf, veal, Spanish rice and jello. I loved my name, hands, I loved using my hands. I continued to use my hands.  It is a name  that I deserved.

1960s: My mother, a painter and my father a trumpet player and lover of music, encouraged , or better yet, allowed me to return to college after I flunked out of the Nunnery. It was there, academia,  that I attempted to become a normal 60's hippie, a delicate job since I was then a once almost nun; fragile, anorexic, weighing 80 pounds and certifiably ill. In the 60s, especially in a small upstate NY village, therapy was not an option or even existent and a better thing happened.... I met my liberator, my mentor, my art guru, a nun professor at a Catholic women's college, named Mother Mary Jane. What a boon! She gave me permission to embrace art and to heal. Her own practice was sculpture so of course I imitated her passion, having created many Stonehenges as a child. So for my Bachelor of Arts degree, under her tutlage, I made seven versions of the Visitation; Mary and Elizabeth embracing, both pregnant. A psychologically rich choice!  And I must admit that my art bucket list includes 2 final sculptures; a 40 foot tall Visitation and a Stonehenge-like 11 objects in a circle titled, "Rosary."  Teenies' magnified!

1965: I continued wanting to make with my hands and went to a graduate school in Florence Italy for a year, studying with a Hungarian male sculptor, a once violinist who was a student of Kodaly who, after having injured his hand and arm  in the Hungarian Revolution,  became a maker of objects, not sounds from his violin. I continued sculpting  "Prayer Art" making crucifixes of wood, copper, clay and shipping it all back to the states via the compassion of my kind parents.

1966-69: Although I was a diligent and obedient grad student, working in all of the mediums and materials of the then conceptual art of the 60s in Madison Wisconsin, I presented for my MFA show, 9 chickens in 3 bigger than life minimalist  cages, thereby satisfying the going trend of the times: bigger is better. But putting chickens in the cages saved my day because it began an art-life stance and mental frame that I practice until this second: that all is art, that I am art and more accurately, that I am LIVING ART, A LIVING SCULPTURE.

1970s: After grad school, the floodgates of matter becoming potential for my expression and intentionality continued and I worked with anything that I could see or find or touch. But once I was introduced to Yoga and Eastern Theologies and especially Meditation, I soon became MY OWN MATERIAL FOR ART. That is, I manipulated myself using my early childhood Catholic imagery and sat, danced, laid on chicken-angel beds for hours at a time giving myself permission to BE ART, TO BE LIFE, TO BE MEDITATIVE, TO BE SEEN AND HEALED BY THE VIEWER, TO BE AS SACRED AS A CATHOLIC STATUE IN A CATHOLIC CHURCH.  Look at me, I will make me for you.  I was re-doing art and religion for myself by becoming a Catholic woman art-life PRIEST!

1980S:  For Catholics and practitioners of spiritual disciplines, endurance is a penitential given which leads to great benefits if understood correctly.  I endured to become virtuous and to sculpt time by eliminating it, by passing it by, by ignoring it, by morphing it into space because I would do an action for X amount of hours or years, as art, and the intention was to sculpt my inner clay-consciousness so that I could understand my everyday mind that worried or feared or became anxious or attached.
So I sculpted this mind-stuff by blindfolding myself for weeks at a time; I handcuffed myself to an artist and tied myself to another for a year with a rope joining him in his concept; I focused on the 7 glands-chakras for 14 years, wearing one color clothes while practicing other disciplines that stretched my consciousness and habituation. I  willingly became the fool (sometimes Divine)  so as to collect the dross of the audiences' sturm und drang.

1990s: Life is art. My father's life was my art. My father's illness became the focus and locus for my attention and I used every art-life skill that I had to perform as his caregiver, as his daughter, as his friend, documenting the 7 years of our time together as a collaborator and  manager for his care. I consider these years a denouement, a chance to employ a Herculean inner force for the pain was so intensely purifying that I began preparing for my own closing act, my own last public exploration of my shared/unshared visions. His death eventuated in sending my need for  simplification into process; sending my archive to Fales NYU  Library; sending my 50 videos, made with Tobe Carey,  to You Tube for free; sending the over one dozen personas that I created and impersonated to find the real me; sending myself into invisible opposition. There is a need to not do more but to be less, do less.

2000s: Now I invite others to the home where I was raised; no longer a home but  THE ART LIFE INSTITITE & TRANSFIGUATION HOSPITAL. The house of teensies.
Here I answer my final question, a question I have ben asking since I turned ripped up napkins into mini sculptures back  at the dinner table in 1945. I ask friends to come, be with me in the presence of a purchased BLACK MADONNA sculpture. Come to the chapel. My crucifix sculptures are also there. It's enough.
 NOW: My final question? Silent LOVE.


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