Monday, April 25, 2011
Down the Line: Silverware Talk Part II
"Down the Line", india ink on paper, 15" x 22", 2011
As I explained in my last post, silverware is traditionally passed through the women of the family, to continue the maternal line of the family to the woman's new family. However, while that may hint at feminist undertones, the tradition of silverware is not (historically) feminist at all. In the late 20th century, when silver was easily accessible to multiple classes in the United States, the dining room was considered to be the center of entertainment for the family's guests, and a man would showcase his family's wealth and status through the family's silver collection (Of course, it was his wife's pattern that the he would collect).
The layered knives in the piece above explores the man's role in silverware. While the spoon was considered to represent a woman, with it's curves that mimic a swollen womb, the knife is phallic in shape and signifies both power and authority (Consider Thanksgiving: The one who carves the turkey is traditionally the alpha of the family). The layered knives, all of different patterns, explore what the tradition of collecting silverware would look like if it was passed through the men of the family- down the line, if you will.