What do I believe about my artwork? My sculptures are heroic but interconnected. Not one is above the virtue of another. Each one is honored to be in the company of the others. They are all made greater by their association yet each one is an individual of their own.
What do I believe my artwork is about? Self expression. Autobiography. Self redemption. That I dare to evoke self hatred and indulge it, act it out, embody it, project it onto a form, in the female body, exorcise it from my body and my mind, and understand it, transform it, gain power over it, and myself in the process. Also to gain a skill that is marketable, is to redeem myself from poverty and to free myself of having to marry, or be dependent on a husband or partner for money. A platform of the self to stand upon. Self made woman.
Are my process and the finished sculptures the same thing?
Through the abstracted language of animal headed goddess figures. Human/animal. A believable fiction. A willful suspension of disbelief. Animals that talk, walk, wear clothes. A celebration of the goddess within. Her Entity. Divinity. Hybrid. Anthropomorphic. Make believe Iconography. In my church as a kid growing up, there were no icons or visual representations of women, or the divinity that was female. Not an animal mask on a human body, not a human head on an animal body, but the animal mind in the human body, and the line between logic and instinct, intellect and emotion, reason and intuition.
In the creation of my work, I feel it’s necessary to evoke a strong feeling about each piece that leads me to the point of daring to fulfill my vision, taking risks, listening to the piece, making mistakes, in the creation or completion. It’s the emotional investment in the reality of creating a sculpture that crystallizes the piece for me.
Sometimes I think up an idea, or a concept, and I imagine what the piece would be to go with that idea. But more often, I work from my intuition in the studio and once it’s completed, I can look and see the intentions behind the piece, or the desire from which it is born.
Feminist? Self-loving. Where does the animal in the body begin and end? How does the animal in the body express itself? Its appetites? Its vanity? Its social status? Its playfulness? Its survival? Its mind?
How can we imagine women as cardinals? Women as presidents? Women in power? Are they grand old gals? Grand dames? Larger than life? The girl next door? Fag hag? Gal pal? Working girl? Housewife? Mom? Matron? Matriarch? Vampire? Victim? Self-righteous? Pious? Slut? Whore? Good girl? Sex goddess? Power monger? Above it all? Breezy? Bare? Raw? Polished? Holier than thou?
How do girls become women? Mother, daughter, grandmother? Maiden, mother, crone? Fairy tales: Little red riding hood, little match girl, red wing black bird, tiger mom, white stork, bantam babe, dancing crane, seagull Cinderella, culture vultures, red tail hawks, brown pelicans, wood peckers, secretaries, nurses, teachers. Strength in numbers.
I've followed Jungians more than Freudians on psychoanalysis because the Jungians seemed more transcendent or spiritual, i.e. Nor Hall, The Moon and the Virgin and Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women who run with the wolves. In their writing they talk about female archetypes. The idea of the story that paints characters with words, that form pictures in our minds eye. The story that has a message, a meaning, a teaching, an allegory, an illusion that is open to interpretation in the imagination. I want my work to do the same thing. Enchantment. Not a literal meaning or symbol of a doctrine. Anime. Cartoons. New stories. Patterns. Stereotypes inverted. Robert Graves, The White Goddess. Encoded. Encrypted.
The Hindu elephant god Ganesh [remover of obstacles] inspired my last body of work but all of my figures were female. They took the form of a tribe, just as they organize themselves in the wild. The matriarchs lead and circle around the younger females. These were not literal studies of Ganesh- but original artworks from my imagination and each one was unique. What if Ganesh were female? The founder of the Shaker movement, Mother Anne believed all things have a male and female, manifestation. She believed she was the female incarnate of Christ, yet they remained a celibate community.
My studies of African sculptures and Native American totems inform my elephants. The idea that Native Americans teach kids about the wild by hunting, to respect the power and danger of an animal, where as American kids learn about animals through pets, stuffed animals and cartoon characters. Family Clan. Masks. Rituals. Stories. Tribal. Primitive. Animism. Animated. Performance. Dance.
I’m interested in the interplay of color and form. Especially Jessica Stockholder’s work where color is a transformational visual device, changing the way we see form. I’m interested in personality type and body language. Character and sexuality. Beauty and sensuality. I like Katharina Fritsch’s sculptures. Sacred figures are turned into pop icons with the use of color.
Look for my work in these upcoming exhibits...
Knight&Hammer Flat elephant jewelry collection at Daniela Corte 211 Newbury Street in Boston. 1⁄2” elephant links inspired by sculptor Donna Dodson's work.18K yellow gold over bronze bracelet, necklace and earrings from The GTAEF (Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation) Collection. Part of the Knight&Hammer's Jewelry with a ConscienceTM that is premiering November 17th.
Photos courtesy of Boldfacers.com.
THANKSGIVING SILENT ART AUCTION, Gallery Ehva, 74 Shankpainter Rd, Provincetown, MA
Preview opening and start of bidding - Friday, Nov 18, 6-8pm
Preview will continue all week, till Sat. Nov 26, Noon-2pm
Closing Party: Saturday, November 26, 4pm - 6pm ---> Wine, Music, Food!
Artful Giving for the Holiday: Paintings, Pottery, Jewelry & Sculpture
Now through December 24th at The Mill Brook Gallery and Sculpture Garden, 236 Hopkinton Road, Concord, NH 03301
Open House: Saturday, December 3rd 11-3 during ART CONCORD