The Millicents. Collage series.
Meet Millicent Cambridge Dagworthy, daughter of a cheese farmer who worked her way up to a comfortable city living with her husband, Stanley. Millicent wouldn’t miss a rummage sale for her life and rejoiced in her peculiar curios, but would never scrimp on luxury. When it came to jewelry she owned the best, sometimes even purchasing decoys to thwart any would-be robber (her eccentricities were limitless). What was important was that everything she owned had an aura of her own making.
One day, for insurance purposes, she took her jewelry to be appraised. The jeweler informed her that most of it was indeed fake, and worth far less than she had expected. It was tragic. After her death, while helping to organize her home, I came across a Ziploc bag buried in linens that was filled with enough sparkly gems to hypnotize a mynah bird. My excitement dimmed when I opened the blinding treasure bag and a Post-It note proclaimed “THESE ARE FAKE!!!!!!” I, however, am no dumb robber. The jewelry was appraised as Millicent’s treasured jewels that she had dismissed as cheap replicas years before. Her own deliberate creation of illusion had generated a new authenticity for the gems.
Since that discovery, I have instinctively looked to matters of historical fact with the expectation of fiction. The three images of Millicent illustrate the ability of an object to be simultaneously factual and fabricated with the indiscernible lines questioning the actuality of both. The claim to knowing the truth is relative and indefinite, but allows plenty of room for imagination.