Thursday, April 4, 2013

Heart of the Matter

I return again and again to the heart shape. Back in 1978, when I made my first foray into the commercial craft world I started making various heart shaped ceramic pins.
Ceramic pin circa 1978
I see this as related to my interest in yoni shapes, specifically the "coco de mer" (see the previous post, below).Almost 30 years later shortly after I got my "second wind" professionally, I returned to the heart shape:
My intent was not to make a "heart" but rather this biomorphic growth shape that divided in two. Some other references in play in the back of my mind would be various alchemical diagrams:
Left: from Besant and Leadbeater's "Occult Chemistry"; Right: from Edwin Babbit's "Etherio -Atomic Philosophy of Force

So.......Back in February, as I was thinking about doing a large piece to enter in this year's Finger Lakes Exhibition at Rochester's Memorial art Gallery I make some sketches:
When I decided to start with a Styrofoam core over which I would cover with a "paper mache clay" (the recipe I found at:  Ultimate Paper Mache  )I made a life size drawing:

I used this to trace the outline right onto a section of a 4' x 8' sheet of Styrofoam insulation. I added layers and shaped it with saws and files:
After It was fully shaped and covered with the paper mache "clay" (a mixture of toilet paper, joint compound, Elmer's Glue, and flour) I started to paint it wit a base coat of cobalt blue:
(So big it takes up most of my dinky studio)
Next I gave detail to the "background"
So, finally I am starting to begin to start the conversation and this is the state its currently in as of today:


Saturday, February 2, 2013

I just finished a large, 48" tall, piece for a show in March. Actually it is a piece I made years ago and put in a show in 2008 as part of a suite of work for a show here in Rochester titled "Big". The surface of  the piece was very simply painted when I made it for that show, so now, after may work has gotten decidedly painterly the past five years, I decided to repaint it. It's actually the largest of the yoni shapes that I have been working with for the past 25 years. Here is how it progressed:

Left is 2008. Center is Fall 2012. Right is Jan. 2013

I first got interested in this shape when I saw a picture of a Coco-de-mer, a coconut found in the Indian Ocean, in a book about Tantric Art by Ajit Mookerjee:
After Grad school when I started a ceramic jewelry business in West Almond, NY, I made a line of erotic pins including these:

I decided to title the new piece "Locus Amoenus" which is latin for "pleasant place" (thank you, Wikepedia). It is associated with a garden and connotes a physical or mental space of safety and protection. It was a literary device developed by the ancient greeks, although when Ovid used it it was something of the reverse I understand from my limited search. As I was looking at my finished work, I kept being reminded of the patterns on the "oriental" carpets of Turkey and the middle east. Researching this lead me to this term, locus amoenus. Here is a parting detail view of the piece: