Eight years ago, Jessica Marten – Curator in Charge/Curator of American Art at Rochester’s Memorial Art Gallery – was poking around among the paintings in a museum storage space when a small piece caught her eye.
It was many things. The artist’s medium, egg tempera and gold leaf, suggested medieval paintings, and the illuminated manuscripts of monks. The extensive use of borders is what might be seen on a tapestry. And the central figure looked like an image from Frida Kahlo: A woman in pain, clutching her head. Her eyes are bleeding.