A Girl Mad as Birds (Has Come to Share My Room)
Cheryl Parry

The title of this installation is from the Dylan Thomas poem “Love in the Asylum,” and is the second part of an ongoing work-in-progress that explores the commonly held belief in 19th century psychiatry that women were predisposed to madness. The pseudoscience of “Physiognomy” and portraits from the new invention of photography were believed to aid in diagnosing and treating what often was not mental illness at all. Photographs from that lesser-known history are subject matter for portraits in oil—framed in vintage boxes and a cabinet—juxtaposed with symbolic objects that include nests, feathers, as well as a small bird (that died of natural causes and is preserved through taxidermy).

About Cheryl Parry
Cheryl Parry is a multi-media artist who has integrated painting, installation, text, video, sound and dance in thematic projects with a focus on lesser-known history. Parry is the recipient of numerous stipends and two Puffin Foundation grants for exploration of the invisible world of women in domestic work in the 19th century (The Maid’s Project) as well as women confined to the Magdalene Laundries of Ireland (The Cloths of Heaven). Other projects have included themes around the British poet/painter William Blake, the American poet Walt Whitman, and the nature writer/scientist, Rachel Carson. Parry’s work is in many private collections, as well as the City of San Diego Permanent Collection. To explain grounding work in “the history we do not know,” consider a quote from Bill T. Jones, an American director, choreographer and dancer: “And there is solace if we dare believe it. The creation of beauty or art out of tragedy is in some manner the only way we can bear history.”

For more information about Cheryl, visit her online at www.cherylparry.com

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