Within a span of three years, my husband, Blaise Tobia, and I experienced the death of our mothers. They were both in their eighties, and had lived out their final days as they had hoped . . . independently. Their refrigerators were still full when they died, and we transferred the food to our own house.
My artwork over the last decade has been following a complex visual trail of caryatids, architectural columns, canephorae, baskets of produce, Corinthian capitals, acanthus, Demeter and Persephone, bread and water. The metaphorical layers are many, but all reflect the ongoing cycle of life and women’s role in supporting it.
As a way of honoring Dorothea Maksymowicz and Mary Tobia—the women who sustained the life of our families—I decided to acknowledge the Olympian goddess of agriculture, grain and bread. I cast the last two baked items in their freezers into plaster: a loaf of plain rye bread from my mom, and an Italian Christmas cookie with colorful pastry sprinkles from Blaise’s mom.