University Museums

Media File
Title: Big Heart
Name: Digital Collage
Date: 2017
Medium: Digital collage, paper
Country/Culture: American
Dimensions: Frame: 50 1/2 × 42 × 3 in. (128.3 × 106.7 × 7.6 cm) Image: 43 3/4 × 36 in. (111.1 × 91.4 cm)
Classification: Photographs
Credit Line: Acquisition to the Art on Campus Collection by Dsn S 145x - Diversity in Art, Spring 2018. Gift of the artist with funds provided by David Faux, Mark Hansen, and Malcolm Rougvie memorial gifts. In the Art on Campus Collection, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Object Number: U2018.203
More Information
About the Artist:
“Our identity is usually defined around our face. It’s what babies resonate to immediately. It’s in our DNA. [My collaged portraits are] people that you see every day in a particular setting but know nothing about. [Distortion of the face] allows anyone that sees it to illustrate their own story. Removing the ‘identity’ brings in a bigger landscape of color and shapes. It has the ability to tell a bigger story. Maybe you see yourself. Or maybe not. It’s all in the eye of the beholder.”– Molly Scannell

Artist Statement:
When I look at an image, I see it for what it can become.

Realism is riddled with anxiety-induced pressure. I prefer collage.

I manipulate to expand the story, creating digitally and in real life with keys and clicks and scissors and glue. I often distort or erase faces. Replace identity with landscapes, color and shape. This allows viewers to bring their own impressions.

I crave the tactile. Evolve with mechanical pencil, Moleskine and hand-made executions.
The permanence of analog affords success and failure. There is learning in both and hand-made means there is proof. That’s as real as it gets.

My name is Molly.

This happened and the world found me.

About Big Heart
This collage was created as part of a series about prisoners. The woman depicted is Mary L. Morst. In October 1912, Mary Morst was sentenced by the Pittsylvania County Circuit Court to 18 years in the Penitentiary for murdering her husband. Morst’s mug shot, taken upon her arrival at the Penitentiary on 14 October 1912, clearly shows she is pregnant. On 13 January 1913, Morst gave birth to twins: Joseph and Martha. Mary Morst recognized that she could not raise her children in prison. In January 1915, she asked Penitentiary Superintendent J.B. Wood for permission to give her children away. “[P]leas [sic] Grant me the priveledge [sic]“, she wrote, “of given [sic] my two children to Emma J. Randolph [daughter of another female inmate] as I has nothing in here.” There is no response to Morst’s request in the Penitentiary records. However, a 1916 letter by Wood states that the Morst children are still in the Penitentiary. By 1921, Joseph and Martha Morst were at an orphanage. In a 21 February 1921 letter urging Governor Westmoreland Davis to pardon Morst, Kate H. Plecker wrote that her “children are now at an orphanage & she lives in constant dread they will be taken by some one.” Governor Davis granted Morst a conditional pardon on 23 April 1921.

Dsn S 145x - Diversity in Art, Spring 2018 Class Statement:
There is diversity in everything people do, say, and believe. Art is no exception - there are artists from all different religions, ethnicities, cultures, etc. and it is exceptionally representative in art.

Serving as a form of expression, a single piece can carry a hundred different meanings. Meanings fueled behind culture, religion, and past experiences pave way for numerous connections that build bridges between time and color. I think that is what got to me the most during this course. I had always been nervous that my own interpretation of a piece was "wrong" or invalid... but art wouldn't be as amazing as it is without its capability of withholding so many different interpretations.

By visually representing something that is not discussed or talked about, it allows the issue to be seen. The more the issue is seen, the more normal or common it feels making it easier to have a conversation about.