Under a Cloud is a portrait of the artist’s mother, Regina Silverthorne (1926–2011). The figure was modeled by hand in polymer clay using photographs for reference, sewing needles for sculpting tools, and several magnifying lenses for enhanced visibility. Once completed, the clay figure was then cast in rubber. The “cloud” is an image of the depression from which the subject suffered. It too is rubber. Finally, the actual hair of the subject was glued on, one strand at a time.
Hair was also sent to laboratories for DNA analysis, providing both a matrilineal ancestry report, showing where Regina’s DNA had been geographically for the last 15,00 to 18,000 years, and her genetic fingerprint, that part of her DNA that was unique. These DNA reports are an unseen component of the finished portrait.
Under a Cloud is one of a series of cast rubber portraits made between 2000 and 2015 that similarly used small scale and DNA information to convey vulnerability, loss, and continuance. They constitute one aspect of a melancholy archeology of the ruined studio, haunted by vanished voices.
—Jeanne Silverthorne, New York, New York, April 2016