POLI VESTURE

Poli Vesture, the Catholic statue factory that produced the figures in these photographs was located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from the early 1900ʼs through 2008. The business was prosperous during the years when the human hand was always involved in the creative process and in the production of multiple objects from handmade molds. During the last several decades demand for these statues decreased and by the time I encountered the factory it was nothing more than a storage facility with occasional sales of remaining inventory.

Artisans had used the ordinary: plaster, water, horse hair and straw to make molds of the extraordinary sculpted religious figures they had created. The statues that remained in storage were covered with years of accumulated steel miil dust. Saints were lined up in rows, all with identical bodies, faces, expressions and demeanor. Detached hands and angel wings remained in a storage room. The statues were often sitting next to factory equipment and the resulting juxtaposition of the religious and the ordinary made for a compelling body of work.

The negatives were made with Contax 35mm cameras and black and white film. The prints are archival carbon pigment prints and editions are limited. Gelatin silver prints are also available.