Within SUB ROSA, I chose to work with the cliché of a love letter. A love letter is a romantic way to express feelings of love in written form. In Western culture, typically a love letter is a long and elaborate explanation of love and emotion. The love letter cliché include typical sayings, over used phrases and hetero-sexual/hetero-romantic tones. Love letters are intriguing because of their ability to communicate ideas of love regardless whether the love is accepted or not. The cliché love letter of forbidden love evokes ideas of heterosexuality, however, within SUBROSA it will be presented in a same sex context.
The piece, titled Sub Rosa includes 6 sheets of 18 X 24 paper, with a single phrase written on them. The phrases are centered and handwritten in pen. The sheets were hand cut and nailed into the wall in a triangular form. The first row contains three sheets, the second two sheets, and the third one sheet. The sheets are surrounded by one rose on each vertical side. In total there are 9 roses in the piece. The roses are placed upside down and nailed into the wall.
The title, Sub Rosa, references the Latin saying “Under the Rose”, meaning done in secret. In the Middle Ages, a rose suspended from the ceiling above a meeting council, swore all those present to secrecy over the matters discussed. When the term Sub Rosa is presented in a Religious context, it refers to the roses carved on Catholic confessionals as a reminder that confessions will be keep secret.
The Rose is associated with the idea of immortal love and ultimate sacrifice. The placement of the roses within the piece would lead to their eventual preservation. Hanging a rose upside down leads to it drying out, however the flowers do not fall off as they would if the rose was kept upright. Within the piece the roses represent eternal, undying love. The act of nailing the letters and roses to the wall are reminiscent of crucifixion as well as sacrifice. The love letters within the piece are also nonconventional due to their size, content, placement and context. Regularly love letters are small in size, discrete and kept private. Sub Rosa is large, nailed to the wall, open to the public and unapologetic. The presentation and size of the piece represent impenitency, although the work is influenced by the experiences of a forbidden taboo homosexual relationship.