The Bodice Project is thrilled to have many artists from the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia contribute to this sculptural exhibit.
Selected Artist's Statements
Artist: Anne Rule-Thompson
earthenware clay, slips, underglazes, glaze
If you are diagnosed with the BRCA-2 gene mutation, you have increased your risk of breast cancer from the average 12% to 72%. This was the reality for my friend, who courageously chose to undergo physical and emotional pain in order to defend her future. Solomon’s Seal is used in the sculp- ture as a symbol of her Ashkenazi Jewish heritage, an additional risk factor. As a yoga instructor, my friend relies on the meditative pose depicted here, the Hidden Prayer. I am honored to have the opportu- nity to shed light on the positive medical advances that are saving women to- day...especially my beautiful friend!
Artist: Christian Benefiel
My mother is a breast cancer survivor.
The gravity of the diagnosis, and the stark marker between the before and after, separates the lives of both survivors and supporters. I feel like it was, and still is, our role to be there, to offer support, to help, to listen, to encourage each other and face hard decisions together. A network resists, it cushions, it finds strength through connection. I do not look back on her struggle with any fondness or romance. However, I am as a result, keenly aware of how connected we are, and how very lucky I am to be able to return the support she has given me. For that I am greatly thankful.
Artist: Sonya Evanisko
wire, coral, live moss
The inspiration for this work comes from a brave woman, Alyssa. When genetics research identified the BRCA-1 gene in her, Alyssa decided at age 40 to have a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy. Alyssa was a single parent of an 8 and 10-year-old and the wait and see approach wasn’t for her. She needed to be in control of her health and the practical thing to do was to plan sensible arrangements in advance for her children while she recovered. Being able to make these plans minimized their fears, as well as the disruption in their lives.
Artist: Cynthia Fraula-Hahn
plaster embedded gauze, acrylic
The big hearts, interlocking and interweaving, is my interpretation of this man who had breast cancer. After our meeting and conversation, I realized that the image that had kept coming to mind was his big heart. He is so kind and loving. He is a physician’s assistant at the V.A. hos- pital and cares for hospice patients. He has also assisted 6 other men who have had breast cancer. Men also get breast cancer, and I wanted that issue represented. It was a very different experience dealing with a male figure. The explosion of hearts needed to be masculine and uplifting.
Artist: Kathryn Bragg Stella
linen over plaster, pastel, gesso
When I met Victoria, I was struck by her vitality and indomitable spirit. We spent an evening together with friends, laughing and having a great time. I had no idea that she was undergoing reconstruction after a double mastectomy. Victoria generously agreed to be a model for my sculpture and during the plaster wrapping process she shared with me that she hoped to have dogwood blossoms tattooed across her chest, in lieu of tattooed nipples. When I began work on the linen, I looked up the meaning of the dogwood blossom: “love, undiminished by adversity.” I hope that Victoria’s beautiful spirit shines through this piece.
Artist: Joan Bontempo
In Greek mythology Artemis, despite her “wildness” (her refusal to conform to conventional ways or tradition) and her fierce independence, was depicted as one of the compassionate, healing goddesses. Of all the Greek goddesses, she was the most self-sufficient, living life on her own terms, comfortable both in solitude and in holding the reins of leadership. This piece for the Bodices for Goddesses clearly shows a love for the female torso – almost bursting with a robust roundness; her generous nature, heart and soul barely contained.