Instead I'm trying to get back to that new awesome new Kalamazoo spirit by writing about some problems I had while I was working on my paper for the conference, which was about Gothic Virgin and Child statues and statuettes and so I'll be showing a few here even if I don't talk directly about them. To tell the truth, I'd done the work that this paper was based on several years ago and had even presented very similar papers at other conferences, to other audiences. My problem in working on this version, then, wasn't with the ideas contained in the paper, but with the words I used to present them.
Images (or sculptures? what's the difference or the relationship between those two words?) of the Virgin and Child, from the thirteenth through fifteenth centuries, and in stone, wood, and ivory - such as the selection shown here - share a visual emphasis on the Virgin's clothing (or the forms of her clothing? Or the forms that form her clothing? Or the form that form what appears to be clothing? Because those aren't really clothes, of course, and that's not really the Virgin. This is just stone, wood, and ivory, not fabric and not flesh). Her (or the?) garments (that aren't really garments) make up the majority of these images (or objects?) for the fabrics form the majority of her body (except those aren't fabrics, that's not a her, and not a body), with her (or the) flesh (which is isn't really flesh) exposed (or appearing, because its not being exposed, not coming out from underneath the clothes, since these are solid forms and those aren't clothes) only for her (but that's not a her) hands (which aren't really hands) and face (which isn't a face) - and sometimes a breast (that's not a breast). Furthermore her (the?) clothing (which isn't really clothing) provides much of the visual interest in these images as the mantles and veils (or the combinations of shapes and lines that appear as mantles and veils) in particular (appear to) wrap and drape (since they don't really) around Mary's body (that isn't Mary and isn't a body), creating visual movements that (seem to) animate her (its or the) form.
Or at the very least, is there a way of meaningful differentiating between the words, so that this same ivory might sometimes be an object and sometimes an image, sometimes an it and sometimes her. When I look back at my previous post, I notice that I made a change in how I wrote about the Aphrodite of Knidos, from her to it, when I wrote about it refusing the man who tried to have sex with her, and so about its sincerity as an object manifesting itself in its refusal to perform as he desired.