Julia Barbee

[photo by lisa talbot]

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Jesus, You're a Picture (Said the Blind Man), 2011

Paper, Perfume, Wood, Glass, Silk, Borax, Plexiglass, x 30 x 17 x 10", Duration Variable


Each piece in this series was comprised of a performance with a perfume, and the catcall received became the name for that particular fragrance. The catcall was then turned into a text piece and presented on a sculpture below the text. Here is the text:

jesus, you’re a picture (said the blind man)15th & fremont, portland, or. ran 42 miles during performance on a pescatarian dietwhen he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, made clay with the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, and he said unto him, go, wash in the pool of siloam, (which is by interpretation, sent). he went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing. john 9:6-7representations of our saviour are pretty, to be sure; but they are too smooth to please me. his christs are always in sugar-candy every so often we hear the story of a blind man who, upon his return home, recognized that in his absence his daughter had suffered herself to be seduced the mammal is smelling his way unto salvation it is also said that thyme was one of the three plants which made the bed in the manger at Bethany for the virgin mary and the christ child what is left of the most beautiful lady in the world when you turn out the light? the feminine charm of her voice and her perfume when the intoxicating odor of donuts fills the home before fastnacht, you know that lent is at hand these sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each shall there be a like weight: and thou shalt make it a perfume, a confection after the art of the apothecary, tempered together, pure and holy: see i have called by name bezaleel the son of uri, the son of hur of the tribe of Judah: and i have filled him with the spirit of god, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to devise cunning works of all the senses smell is the one that seems to contribute the least to the operations of the human mind. one can indulge in smells and tastes, but one can hardly think in them. the pleasure coming from the sense of smell cannot be other than fleeting and transitory builders of mosques used to mix rose water and musk into mortar; the noon sun would bring out the perfumes once our father and lord jesus christ had come and revealed himself as a man among men, from the teachings of his lips came a good odor and, drawn by the perfumes of his breath, prophets apostles and martyrs came unto him, and all the choir of saints whether he be a sinner or no, i know not: one thing i know, that, whereas i was blind, now i see. john 9:25 the smelling faculty must be shown how to gratify itself with the odoriferous products of the garden and the forest for blind french philosopher diderot smell was the most voluptuous sense john donne imagines that jesus could have looked at the four-day rotting corpse of lazarus and said, “there is no such matter, he doth not stink,” but says instead, he is rotting, there is a stench, but yet he is my friend (“but though he do, my friend shall not lack my help.”) this, finally, is donne’s most characteristic reflex, to bring forward the human hand at moments of both desire and repulsion; to say, but yet he is my friend evil spirits scented a delicious fragrance in all human sin mary magdalene won her role as patron saint of french perfumery god, through the breath of the holy ghost, spoke through the angel and the virgin was made pregnant through her ear hades, god of the underworld, had the narcissus flower created to seduce persephone by its scent, described by homer as ‘so sweet that all heaven and earth laughed with pleasure’ so sick last night ididn’t know my minddrunk some bad licker thatalmost made me blind satan was as likely to be found in sweet odors as in foul in the bible is found one of the oldest perfume formulas in existence: 500 shekels of pure myrrh, 250 shekels of sweet oil of cinnamon, 250 shekels of sweet oil of calamus, 500 shekels of cassia added to one hin of olive oil there in paradise bright roses exhale fragrance from gardens rare,and where murmuring springs water the earth around, modest violets bloom, crocus and marigold, lifting radiant flower, rich in their saffron hues souls have the sense of smell in hades pressure would build up in the still, expanding steam and ripping metal. perfumery has had its martyrs jesus christ, who continues to point out to job-obsessed mammalians that the lilies of the field have never punched time clocks. christ’s mission was to prepare the way for floral consciousness i’ll glut myself with incense, myrrh and nard, with genuflexions, delicacies, and wine 40 parts cardamom40 parts tobacco16 parts musk deer16 parts vetiver16 parts vanilla bean20 parts cassia8 parts frankincense11 parts my pheromones5 parts hot scrape elk pheromone

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