Thursday, January 5, 2012

Object Acquisition # 77-108.1.33 Cautery Transformer

Documenting objects from The Hunt Show:

Object Acquisition # 77-108.1.33 Cautery Transformer
Object interpreted and Statement by: Isaac Yoder


The cautery transformer I had picked at random was manufactured in 1928 by The Wappler Electric Company during the tail end of the Comstock laws. At the time public opinion and federal law made it impossible for physicians to disseminate any information regarding contraceptive or reproductive health. The electrical device was used by a local obstetrician for cervical and surgical cauterization. Looking at the object, I was instantly reminded of the wood burning kit my older sister had given me one year as a birthday gift.

Veil, is a series wood burning based off of a selection of historical painting depicting the annunciation; The annunciation is the point at which the angel Gabriel appears to Mary and informs her she will conceive and give birth. Annunciation paintings are accompanied by a criteria of symbolism, all geared at informing the viewer of Mary's pure nature. the original paintings(and source material for my work) dating back from 1436 up onto 1712 were created during the wide spread witch hunts of Western Europe, in an age where seeking out information regarding one's reproductive health was criminalized. Midwives, who had originally been the source of information pertaining to birth control, were labeled witches, hunted down and executed.

I chose to focus solely on Mary's face - all of Mary's faces, at the most critical moment of her life. I wanted to show who she was -- not what she was. I delineated the planes and values of each face as if they were parts of a map, or the wavy lines of a cat scan, to present this historical figure in a contemporary context.

Curator's Note:
I think it is amazing how history comes back on itself... People today are still fighting for reproductive health rights to remain safe and available yet people are quick to burn the witch or critique the single mother. Amazing work!


Karen Peterson said...

Whoa, Isaac. Amazing what the artists came up with from historical artifacts. I'm constantly surprised.


Bess said...

I am pleased that you are on the front lines for keeping historical artifacts available to the public. Thank you Karen!