Life's Deal: Deck of Cards
We are often drawn to cardplaying because of the element of risk
and its metaphorical associations to real life. Many of the decisions
we make in life involve risks and chances. What risks have you taken
to create new pathways? What obstacles do you face on those paths?
How do you feel about the card you have been dealt in life?
This project uses playing cards as the basis for visual, emotional,
and spiritual exploration. Using mixed media, the students use familiar
20th- (and 21st) century art techniques such as layering, juxtaposition,
and chance. (Fluxus, Dada, and Surrealist techniques)
Oil pastels drawn on shiny magazine images may seem like an odd
combination, but oil pastels are one of few media that have the
intensity to interact effectively with the vibrant magazine collage
images. The oil pastel drawing overlaps, surrounds, and partially
exposes the magazine images and text. The results are often strong
and surprising juxtapositions.
In the Deck of Cards project, layering and chance act as metaphors
for the numerous influences and factors that determine our lives--our
family, gender, religion, society, geography, etc. The project encourages
students to critically examine the kitschy school career day slogan
that "students can be anything they want to be." The Deck
of Cards project doesnt diminish the role of goal setting
and personal agency, but it does contextualize ideas of choice and
possibility within personal, social, and political givens. Does
the message "You can be anything" have different meanings
in a working class urban school than in a wealthy suburban public
school or an exclusive private school?
The work of Chicago artist, Hollis Sigler, was the inspiration for
this project. Since 1992 much of Siglers work dealt with the
reoccurrence of her breast cancer. One political project she organized
as a fundraiser for breast cancer research invited fifty-two other
artists to each design one playing card in a fifty-two-card deck.
This project not only highlights the therapeutic significance of
art, but also the educational, social, and political importance
of the role of artists