I started the series, Backstory, after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. The tens of thousands of victims who were never identified or buried calls to mind similar events throughout history: the plague, the Holocaust, Rwandaa, and many others, as well as metaphorical piles of unacknowledged victims from AIDS, drug abuse, and child abuse. This series pays tribute to the anonymous, unceremonious mass deaths which punctuate human history, the backstory upon which so much civilization is built.

The figures are modeled from unfired white clay, approximately 1 1/2" long. They are assembled in shadow boxes or on steel plinths, as flags, targets, walls and other shapes. Their fragility, scale, and organizing principle evoke the tenuousness of human life.

Backstory
Monica Banks Backstory Unfired clay
Theory
2012
Unfired clay
10 3/4" x 10 3/4" x 2" framed
Monica Banks Backstory

Monica Banks Backstory

Monica Banks Backstory Unfired clay
Couplets
2012
Unfired clay
10 3/4" x 10 3/4" x 2" framed
Monica Banks Backstory

Monica Banks Backstory

Monica Banks Backstory Unfired clay, magnets, cold rolled steel
Foreshadowing
2011
Unfired clay, magnets, cold rolled steel
4 1/2" x 14 3/4" x 5"
Monica Banks Backstory

Monica Banks Backstory

Monica Banks Backstory Unfired clay, shadow box
Verse
2011
Unfired clay, shadow box
16" x 20" x 4"
Monica Banks Backstory

Monica Banks Backstory

Monica Banks Backstory Unfired clay, shadow box
Proverb
2011
Unfired clay, shadow box
16" x 20" x 4"
Monica Banks Backstory

Monica Banks Backstory

Monica Banks Backstory Unfired clay, hot rolled steel
Resolution
2010
Unfired clay, hot rolled steel
4" x 7" x 7"
Monica Banks Backstory

Monica Banks Backstory

Monica Banks Backstory Unfired clay, shadow box
Elegy
2010
Unfired clay, shadow box
16" x 20" x 4"
Monica Banks Backstory

Monica Banks Backstory

Monica Banks Backstory Unfired clay, shadow box
Index
2010
Unfired clay, shadow box
16" x 20" x 4"
Monica Banks Backstory

Monica Banks Backstory

Monica Banks Backstory Unfired clay, hot rolled steel
Rhyme
2010
Unfired clay, hot rolled steel
3.75" x 7" x 7"
Monica Banks Backstory

Monica Banks Backstory

Monica Banks Backstory Unfired clay, shadow box
Backstory
2010
Unfired clay, shadow box
16" x 20" x 4"
Monica Banks Backstory

Monica Banks Backstory

Monica Banks Backstory Unfired clay, shadow box
Narrative
2010
Unfired clay, shadow box
16" x 20" x 4"
Monica Banks Backstory

Monica Banks Backstory

Monica Banks Backstory Unfired clay, shadow box
Punctuation
2010
Unfired clay, shadow box
16" x 20" x 4"
Monica Banks Backstory

Monica Banks Backstory

Monica Banks Backstory Unfired clay, shadow box
Chronology
2010
Unfired clay, shadow box
16" x 20" x 4"
Monica Banks Backstory

Monica Banks Backstory

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