“Unique” began as my answer to the contemporary flower field paintings I often see in Chicago commercial galleries. This work is conceptually simple yet has much to say.

The group of flowers utilizes a traditional doily form called Teardrop. Each of the 61 individuals were crocheted to be exactly the same. 61 is a prime number which in itself is unique. I used the same blue dye in the resin in varied degrees. I applied the resin to one doily form at a time making sure it was at least partially set before I applied resin to its neighbor. Sometimes I applied resin to a cluster. These varied applications each have a different and unique direct effect of distortion. After the completed piece was sanded, I used Rust-o-leum Enamel paints to paint out and paint in colors. Some Teardrops were left paint-free, some were painted on the back, some on the front, and others on both sides.

The work deals with subtle differences. Although each of the individual members started out to be exactly same, small changes like the amount of dye and the condition and form of its neighbor and also the way individuals were attached to their neighbors affected, or rather assured, individuality. At closer look, each flower is uniquely different from the other even if at first look, the cloth appears as undisputed all-over pattern.

Same but different, in very small increments, much like a community where people appear to be the same. Same ethnicity, same value system, same dress code, etc… A tight knit group, where community is more important than individuality, yet individuality still appears. It must. Outside factors are always an influence even if philosophy of community structures does not allow for difference.

What we see as small subtle differences can be insignificant or really large. All depends on who’s judging.

What is uniqueness anyway?? I like to look into “Unique” and find the one flower that feels the way I do at that moment. Each time is a different one. So perhaps, “Unique” is also about the small incremental changes that we experience from day to day or event to event.

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© Yvette Kaiser Smith 2004