June 15, 1998 I
Egg tempera on wood, 24” x 24”, 1999

"The paintings that work through the memory of rape head-on include June 15, 1998, I & II. In these works, McEneaney refuses to give a physical presence to the perpetrator. Rather, he is figured only in shadow, a menacing distortion of McEneaney's usual self-presentational style in which the artist confidently peers out at the viewer. When we view a self-portrait we often metaphorically exchange bodies with the artist; i.e., the artist views herself, paints that reflection, and we replace her position before the canvas in viewing the result. Here a rapist fills in for the benign beholder and deflects our access to the image. Not only does an understandable shame block the artist's own access to her image as she looks away in terror, but the shadow implicates us as unwitting witnesses to the crime." --Jeanne Nugent, from the brochure for "Memory and Mastery," Sarah McEneaney's exhibit at Swathmore College, February and March 2000