Rachell Denhollander and Serial Predator Larry Nasser, 2019
80" x 36" x 72". Materials: Hand felted Lincoln wool, onion-skin and acid dye, wood and steel.
Gymnast Rachelle Denhollander was sexually assaulted by serial predator and U.S.A. Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar when she was 15 years old. Sixteen years later, Attorney Denhollander ended Nassar’s career of serial sexual assaults when she brought her case to national attention compelling over 250 other victims to come forward and testify. Other officials in M.S.U. and U.S.A. Gymnastics' staff face criminal charges in this ongoing case. Nasser was convicted and is serving life in prison.
Nasser's was the first sculpture I made with Lincoln wool and I knew immediately that I had the beginning of a series. Realistic portraiture like the gold reliefs takes time and respect to detail. Finding I could not muster up for any respect for predators, parody was the better choice. The reverse is true for Denhollander whose relief portrait may be the first of many of this amazing individual. Here she is raised heroically above the parodied and severed head of Larry Nasser, displayed like this on a steel pike even when in my studio.
The catalyst of my decision to create the Reiter Symbols was hearing the hundreds of ambitious, talented and smart survivors of Larry Nassers' sexual assaults testify to being silenced for decades. Nasser’s hunting territory was small, but as a skilled serial predator he used fear, isolation and quid pro quo as weapons to prey upon girls for decades. I asked how I could change that as an artist. Starting with the goal of equipping innocent victims and witnesses with anonymity, I created the Reiter Symbols' graffiti.