November Exhibit: Dolores Bartholomew, "Meanings of the Heart : Making the Connection"
I am creating a body of work entitled “Meanings of the Heart” which explores how we find meaning in our lives. What creates a person with integrity, beauty and a loving personality which makes that person a delight to be around? How does a person develop meaning in one’s life and place it in his or her heart?
My show depicts exploration of family relationships and activities that foster bonds of love and personal fulfillment. The subtitle “Making The Connection” indicates that our opportunity for finding and giving meaning to ourselves and others happens when we connect face to face with one another when partaking in the activities shown. With my show being in November, I include “behind the scene moments” revealing the time and effort that loved ones do to create a happy holiday or a romantic moment or what neighbors do to show that they care. Connected with this, I depict how parents can show in a quiet but powerful way their love and support of their children with the introduction of “It’s a Bow-Tie Day” series. In this series, moments are shown where a dad, godfather, or a grandfather wears a bow-tie as a sign of loving support for their child on a day that something special is happening for their child. For example, an audition for a play or a tryout for a sports team. When the child sees the bow-tie on their loved one is gives them a sign that they have someone standing behind them and routing for them to have success. It is important that children have their parents and relatives to turn to for support when everything else seems against them. Feeling that support creates both the sense of strength and loving memories for our children. If a viewer wishes they can commission me to have one of their own “It’s a Bow-Tie Day” moment that they have had created for their own child or one can purchase “It’s a Bow-Tie Day” greeting card which includes a bow-tie that can be used as depicted in my show.
Regarding the style in which I choose to depict heart-bonding moments, it has been scientifically shown that we feel happier after we look at photos depicting a special moment that we have shared with family and friends. We also re-remember these events which leads us to having stronger feelings about the event and people involved. Hence, I depict bond-forming moments as “simplified photos” using line, limited color and limited or no background. I also do this because humans generally recall a total of 4 objects per image that we see. This helps the viewer to remember and learn the activity depicted and it also allows the viewer to step inside the image and enables the scene to become their own experience. Furthermore, the simplification eliminates the distractions of the aesthetics of the person or people depicted in the scenes.
I use hearts as a strong visual symbol to indicate that the activity observed is a bonding event. Another significant element emphasized is displayed affection. Schematically, I show this with red cheeks on the people. I also demonstrate the strong bond and lasting effects that a mother develops through breastfeeding by putting a swirl in their hearts; this is another way I offer strength to those who want to build strong loving ties with their children. Hopefully, the images will bring back a memory of a special moment or give one a new idea of a new heart-bonding moment one can create with loved ones. Additionally, I wish to stimulate the viewer into accessing one’s own “heart portrait” and put positive feelings in place of the negative ones that our media culture puts out on a daily basis. I want to build up and support our efforts at building emotionally strong and happy families. Finally, when my art is displayed in the family home it works to reproduce the happiness that the image represents and helps to keep positive feelings circulating in the home on a daily basis making it the safe haven we all long for with our family.