Immurement: Wallpaper

Immurement, to be buried inside a wall. My first encounter with this word was in a fiction called The Three-Arched Bridge, in which a person was buried alive in a wall.

In terms of identity, I could immediately identify with the concept and psychology of immurement. Not only as a feminist or domestic issue, but also as part of the greater human condition, as aspect of social roles and structures.

Immurement: Wallpaper is one perspective of immurement and domesticity. Loosing one’s identity, being dissolved into the surrounding environment. Becoming part of the furniture, part of the infrastructure, part of the house. Bed. Sofa. A comforter. Decoration. Wallpaper. Wallpaper that breathes.

Woman as wallpaper reminded me of an early feminist story, The Yellow Wallpaper, about a woman’s descent into madness. This is how the color yellow entered the sculptural dialogue. Further associations with the color yellow: a color that represents sun and sunshine; jaundice, a destructive virus and fever.

Originally all yellow through resin dyes, subtleties of form were lost in the color, so I painted out some of the yellow with white oil-based enamel, and then painted out some of the white to add or recover the yellow. Although the first need to paint was a formal balancing necessity, I like the added burial, a further wiping-out and walling-in with shallow depth and cover.

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© Yvette Kaiser Smith 2004