Patty Wallace (b. 1957), The Weasel and Western Culture Series, 1997; painted & toned photo linen (11 total), 8 x 10 inches each; Burchfield Penney Art Center, Gift of Gary Nickard and Patty Wallace, 2018
Created to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II, Patty Wallace’s series, The Weasel and Western Culture, superimposes a weasel puppet on documentary photographs of the war’s destruction in Europe. She sewed the puppet on a train ride to Syracuse for her month-long residency at Light Work in March 1995. At the time, sewing was a way she channeled grief for her prematurely deceased brother-in-law, Chris Nickard, who enjoyed sewing himself. She said she chose the weasel as an imaginary observer for several reasons—primarily because “Weasels have a reputation for being conniving, cunning and underhanded—the very traits of those humans who bring us wars.” During her residency, she used Photoshop for the first time, creating a montage of the weasel in vintage scenes based on negatives from the Brooklyn Museum (where she had worked). She printed on photo-sensitive linen, which was then dyed and airbrushed with iridescent stainless steel paint (a technique she learned from Daniel Levine.) Charlotta Kotik, Chairman of the Painting and Sculpture Department of the Brooklyn Museum, and former curator of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, wrote a fuller description of the project, which is posted online at http://collection.lightwork.org/Detail/objects/1995.051.