THE GESTURE: Artist Statement

ges-ture (jes'cher) n. [<L gerere, to bear]- a movement of part of the body to express or emphasize ideas, emotions, etc.

The gesture that is explored here is the placing of one's hand upon the face of another.

The gesture, a physical act, is loaded with emotional implications. To touch another person's face, one must enter the personal space of the individual: literally an arm's length is necessary. To make contact through this intimate space requires a sort of permission, but also needs an emotional boldness on the part of the person making the gesture.

A gesture confers meaning. One person cannot connect with another in this way without it creating a feeling, an emotion. There is a poignancy and a privacy that goes beyond, is even separate from, sexually touching.

Individuals who have already established a natural intimacy touch each other's faces without ever thinking. A baby instinctually reaches for her mother's face. We cradle our dog's jowls to communicate "good boy." Children play with gestures. Lovers explore each other's faces.

While a therapist massaging a client's face has a negotiated permission, and a parent washing a child's face uses her innate control as acquiescence, the hand-to-face gesture seen in this body of work connects, communicates, and expresses tenderness. The frame units are designed so the viewer can see each piece as a separate experience, bringing their own feelings and connections to the image.

Who says that all must vanish?
Who knows, perhaps the flight
Of the bird you wound remains,
And perhaps flowers survive
Caresses in us, in their ground.

It isn't the gesture that lasts,
But it dresses you again in gold
Armor – from breast to knees –
And the battle was so pure
An angel wears it after you.

—Rainer Maria Rilke