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The Girl's Room

Artist's Statement

A room of one's own is needed by a young introverted girl, a budding writer. She craves the sanctity of a safe physical space in which to let her mind wander, and her creative spirit come out to play. But in a strict Baptist household in the mid-1960s to 1970s, far from this need being honored, it is considered subversive. In fact, all diaries and letters from this period were confiscated and destroyed.

Now, as an adult, she is offering her inner world as an open book. Her uncensored thoughts, fresh and unconscious, are scribbled in 45 journals spanning 20 years. These diaries will be juxtaposed with her mother's lovingly-created baby scrapbooks and letters, which share her hopes for her baby girl's future.

Enter the mood of the young girl's room, a period piece created with authentic objects and soundscape from her childhood. At first glimpse, it is a typical room with dolls, flowered flounces, and shag carpeting. Then notice some disturbing elements--the "throw-up bowl" on the bed stand, the transistor radio under the pillow.

Compare early writings and expectations with the writings from the woman she has become. How has her upbringing influenced her creative process, her current philosophies? You may feel inclined to sit on the bed, get cozy, read, enter her world...but minutes later you will be interrupted! Whatever could you be doing in there???


  • Decor

Circa mid-1960s to 1970s. Yellow/gold/orange color scheme. Single bed in yellow flowered bedcover, tightly made. Orange shag rug. Dresser with objects. Beanbag chair. Wall hangings. Authentic objects from childhood: guitar, dolls, books, Bibles, baby toys and stuffed animals. A typical dress hanging, a shorts set laid out.

  • Reading Materials

Roughly 45 adult journals, scattered about the room. Intermingled will be detailed baby scrapbooks made by mother, a book of schoolyear memories, some family letters, early drawings.

  • Soundscape

A 15-minute or so loop. Live recordings of church congregations singing hymns. Interspersed with samples of my favorite girlhood songs, including "There's Got to Be a Morning After"; "Delta Dawn"; "I Think I Love You"; "Mandy"; "Morning Has Broken"; etc. Those songs will be interrupted by a mother's voice saying, alternately: "Wendi! Open your door!"; "Wendi, come out and be social!"; "Wendi, what are you doing in there?"; "Turn off that filth!"; and "If you write it down it's meant to be read." Upon the mother's voice, the music will abruptly switch back to church music. Practice sessions on piano and flute, then changes to Stairway to Heaven, then mother's voice, and switch. The mother's voice will get closer and closer, with footsteps up the stairs and a knock at the door, whereupon the soundtrack abruptly ends.

  • Object List

Quill pen, clown paint-by-numbers, childhood Bibles, Barbie, Kitty, guitar, flute, praying hands hanging, childhood quilt & bedcover, macrame?, snail candle, baby toys, Beverly Cleary books, Victoria Holt books, dresses I made, photos of me, flowered bathing cap, typewriter, throwup bowl.

  • Construction

A room inside a space -- exterior, sheetrock and studs, interior, fully finished and furnished. One doorway. Two windows, covered with gauzy curtains, with yellow gel and halogen lamps bathing room in yellow sunlight.

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