from "biographies" (5 of 5), 1993, 4-color inkjet prints, 22 x 30" each panel. 
Two stories intertwined every other line.



Emily, a professor of ancient languages, secluded herself daily in the Biblical Studies Library, where she compared the wedge-shaped markings of one ancient text to another.  It was her goal to discover the key to one passage that no one had yet been able to translate.  She methodically searched each text for recurring sequences, drawing and redrawing them in various combinations.  At last her diligence led to a breakthrough:  the passage was in fact a record of commercial activity.  As a result of her scholarship the contents of numerous other documents could now be translated.

Sara would arrive punctually most mornings at the public library, where she would spend the rest of the day with her stacks of 3 x 5 cards. These she would order and re-order, often frowning in concentration or nodding with apparent satisfaction. Each evening during her bus ride home she would retrieve a stack of cards from her bag and deftly sort through them, sometimes commenting aloud to herself.  The passengers next to her, noticing that her cards were blank would exchange glances and move away.




Allison, a single mother, wanted to increase her earnings but needed an alternative to holding down two jobs.  Her boss suggested she invest in stocks rather than rely on the slight interest from her savings account.  Allison studied several investment magazines and, after weeks of hesitation, bought shares from a trust that advertised itself as partial to fair business practices and environmental concerns.  After several months she lost a large sum of money.

After Margaret had worked as a librarian for many years, her salary became less adequate as a result of city budget cuts. Though never a spendthrift, she did crave an occasional luxury.  She began to follow the stock market and closely monitored news broadcasts, taking note of those countries with serious political tensions. She then invested in the multinational corporations most likely to benefit from those conflicts.  Her investments proved fruitful.




For her birthday, Heather's father presented her with his stamp collection.  Only mildly interested, Heather checked its contents and realized that if she could just locate the missing sequences, her collection would be quite valuable.  She became consumed by her philatelic quest.  Through the years she combed flea markets and estate sales, and traded items with other collectors.  Dealers were put on alert for the particular stamps she desired.  Once her collection was complete, she sold it for a large sum of money.

Jenny rose from obscurity to become the country's most popular country star,  but not without suffering dramatic personal hardships. Her warmth on stage and the power of her alto voice captivated her audiences.  Jenny's original ballads, telling stories of personal strength and independence, were heard regularly on radio programs across the country and in time became standards for other country stars to interpret.  Years after her death, the U.S. postal service issued a stamp in  her honor.



Catherine, an expert on Northern European painting, was asked by the museum to authenticate a recent addition to the collection. Her knowledge of the painter's work and her mastery of techniques in the laboratory analysis of pigment chemistry made her an undisputed expert in this area.  She studied the brushstrokes, analyzed the base layers, and scrutinized the artist's signature. In the end she concluded that the painting was indeed a forgery. The head curator, however, overuled her conclusion and put the work on display.

The walls of Helen's livingroom were covered with small oils she had purchased over the past twenty-five years. Most came from souvenir shops and flea markets, but many were gifts from family members who knew of her taste for landscapes and portraits in ornately carved frames. Among the dozens of pieces decorating her walls she did not know that the small portrait of a shepherd, a gift from her uncle when she was quite young, was an original worth millions of dollars.



Edith, an anthropologist observing a semi-nomadic society deep in the rainforest, abandoned her fieldwork as she became more and more enmeshed in the daily life and ritual of her adopted community. Eventually, the elders arranged her marriage to a young hunter, and she found, especially after the birth of her first child, that she had completely lost the desire to return to the technological comforts of an urban Western lifestyle.

At her first job interview in the capital, M gave out a westernized version of her name, hoping that her tribal background would not be noticed. To her surprise she was offered the job, and within a few months met and fell in love with the young man who was her immediate supervisor. She kept her upbringing in the rainforest a secret, and even when she had a child she refrained from speaking her native language, or revealing her heritage in any way.