Meditation on the Figure

As a young girl my parents afforded me the opportunity to attend Saturday morning art classes at the local high school. I began drawing and painting figures from the high school museum collection (housed at the Norwich Free Academy's Slater Museum, Norwich, CT), that had in its collection, original sized replicas of classic Greek, Roman, and other master works such as Michelangelo‚Äôs "Pieta". This early exposure to the human figure gave me the foundation to later push the figure stylistically and in an abstracted manner. 

 

"Plywood Princess" was the break out piece of this figure series. I had just finished a series of paintings depicting dancers and wanted to do something not constrained to a rectangular canvas. All I had was a small scrap of pine that I laminated and then hand carved. The body was comprised of trashed plywood that I salvaged from a hardware store dumpster. One of my favorite places in a hardware store is the land of fasteners. Nuts, bolts, washers, all add spots of light and contrast and act as transitional places and attachment aides. Philosophically, the addition of these fasteners is symbolic of when the body's sacred temple sometimes falls apart and requires the addition of industrial attachments to help knit bones and replace parts that have failed.

 

As a human race we all spring from the same genetic beginnings. No matter our current cultural affiliation, our true tribe, is that of the human being. The definition of human is to be compassionately kind, showing benevolence, or approachability. To be human is also to be imperfect. Within each of us are the hearts that have sung many different cultural songs thorough out time. When we forget our humanness we become isolated, intolerant, racist, and this is when wars have the opportunity to begin.

 

This figure series presents the human form in mythical and abstracted translations. To be human is to be of people. It takes many people to make up the human race with all of its glories and weaknesses. These pieces speak to the diversity and complexity of the human psyche and the deep spiritual base for all of our existence.

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Undone (Detail)