The drawing group of which I am a member was recently invited to exhibit a selection of work at The Dairy Center for the Arts in Boulder, Colorado. Here are some pictures.
I have been working with this idea for about seven or eight months. Although since the piece is closely related in form to ‘Journey’ I suppose it’s been at the back of my mind for about two and a half years. As with all my work the emphasis is on how we grow and move through life both individually and in relation to others and our surroundings.
The figures move across a bridge, each self sufficiently moving towards their own ends with neither reaction nor contact with the others. But if the bridge is to remain in balance then they must all keep the same or similar positions. The bridge is the journey, the figures remind us that as we follow the course of our life’s flow we must remain in balance with both the external and internal influences which might be brought to bear in any given situation and at any time.
The title is a simple translation, and probably an incorrect one, of the Tree of Life. Crann meaning tree and Breatha, life.
With this piece I continue to investigate the Celtic belief in shape shifting. That forms or beings by force of will are able to completely alter their appearance, so animals become plants, plants become people. etc.. Growing from sinuous fins suggestive of aquatic life but decorated to appear as stone, the figure develops through a winding plant stem to become a triple female figure and eventually to the branches of a tree. Crann Breatha – Tree Of Life
My Wall Hangings are all of a type, they are all based on the Celtic tree of life mythology and my interpretation of it. They generally have bark or tree root to form the torso of the figure and are usually weighted using a found stone. Some are more figurative than others but all follow my themes of growth and regeneration.
Dance of Life, Sky Dance and Arabesque II are based on explorations of the Celtic festival of Beltaine and are intended to convey the joyfulness of life and the optimistic hopes of the season.
The reliance on the earth and the constant cycles of Mother Nature for survival meant that the advent of spring was the time which held great promise of new life and a fruitful and prosperous future for the Celts. Pagan roots of Easter lie in celebrating the spring equinox, an important holiday in many religions for thousands of years. Celebrating the beginning of spring may be among the oldest holidays in human culture.
The spring equinox, around the 21st of April, marks the end of winter and beginning of spring. Both biologically and culturally, it represents the end of a “dead” season and the rebirth of life, as well as the overriding importance of fertility and reproduction. It is this exuberance and celebratory hope for the future that is imbued in these joyous pieces.
If you will be traveling in western South Dakota at the end of June there is one event which you might enjoy.
This will be the 5th year that the Hill City Arts Council has hosted a small but select sculpture show and sale in downtown historic Hill City. Again this year I am pleased to be one of the artists included in the show.
|Located between two of the world’s largest and most famous sculptures, Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse, Hill City is the logical spot for the Sculpture in the Hills Art Show & Sale. In fact, Hill City’s focus on sculpture has built on the renown of Main Street’s galleries, and has led to its growing reputation as the “new Santa Fe,” and a stop on the “cultural highway” between southern art destinations and Jackson Hole.The show is juried, which means that quality for buyers is guaranteed; the bar that has been set in years past has been reflected in the comments of visitors. One New Yorker exclaimed, “Hey, this is a real art show!” Yes, it is. It also includes artwork in a variety of price ranges, so visitors are able to stop by for a small gift or a new monument for their own personal skyscraper.Sculpture in the Hills also is intimate, with a maximum of 25 artists per year, showing together under one tent just off Main Street—between the famous Alpine Inn and Granite Sports. The small size keeps the show manageable, preventing that “brain overload” that occurs with larger venues. It also makes for great fun and camaraderie for the artists, who feel welcomed and well cared-for. The collaboration that is created between these happy artists and the Arts Council team results in a smooth-running, high-end program suitable for all ages—and all pocketbooks.Hill City also is a cultural destination in itself, with fine art galleries and museums,and public art pieces gracing the city. It is also home to: regionally-known restaurants and wineries; the area’s only foundry, Black Hills Bronze; and an 1880 Train giving passenger rides into the past. And speaking of the past, Hill City features one of the world’s most complete skeletons of a T-rex dinosaur, “STAN,” which was excavated and prepared at the world’s largest private fossil company, Black Hills Institute of Geological Research.|
Again this year I will be participating in the Loveland Show.
As usual I will have number of new pieces, along with recent additions to old series. Come along and join over 140 sculptors for a fun and interesting time.
Works I will be showing this year include, Journey, Three Worlds and Phoenix Rising. My new pieces are Crossing, Crann Beatha, a number of individual wall hangings based around the Tree of Life concept, Sky Dance and the second of a planned Arabesque series.
This sculptural maquette I completed in 2012 having considered the idea for some time. The original concept was to produce a garden sculpture that would link different areas both physically and visually. The pieces would be placed amongst the plantings creating their own journey which would change depending on time of day, weather conditions, season, etc. The figures are designed to reflect growth and movement and by their similarity provide a constant in the ever changing environment of the garden.
Three Worlds brings together the Celtic belief in the underworld, the earthworld and the skyworld and the myriad of triple deities which litter their pantheon. Bringing together these ideas in one piece creates nine different worlds each each one separate and distinct and yet forever linked by their common roots and future growth.
Growing from a found tree root mounted on a piece of sandstone, Phoenix Rising is one of the tallest sculptures I have so far produced. The root has been altered by the addition of small female figures made from epoxy, and patinaed in blue to give the suggestion of water. The figures wind around the sculpture in a clockwise direction until a more recognizable larger human representation is formed continuing with arms held aloft then terminating in tree branches, giving the impression of both growth and rebirth. The figure has two distinct aspects, the female looking straight ahead at the world, and the male with his head facing upwards towards the sun and the future.
Stages, Reach and Delicado will all be at the show, as will Passing By the first three are all pieces which address natural growth and shape changing and all are abstracted female figurative pieces.
Passing By is made from pit-fired ceramic. The lower half of the figures is formed to suggest water but decorated to resemble polished stone. The similarity of the figures indicates a kinship, but their positioning and demeanor would seem to convey the opposite.