Mira Maylor works primarily in glass and metal. Her sculptures and installations have explored aspects of Jewish history and culture, as well as contemporary social and political issues. Her haunting series of heads, Transparents, harnesses the inherent qualities of glass to express the fragility, vulnerability, and estrangement of mamzerim. Delicate fissures visible on the surface of the heads speak powerfully to the precarious ontology of negotiating this problematic status. Mounted on mirrors, each head acquires its own doppelgänger, a metaphor for those hiding in plain sight and for the thwarted potential alternative life which has been denied to the mamzer. At the same time, Maylor’s use of glass and mirrors invites the observer to see himself or herself reflected in the works’ surfaces.
The title Transparents evokes both the character of the sculptures’ media and their meaning, bringing with it as well linguistic associations. In contemporary Hebrew usage, “transparent” is used to refer to people rendered invisible by society, while in English, the title connotes the transmission of the outcast status across the generations (trans-parents). There is irony as well in Maylor’s invention of the word “transparents,” to title her work.