MEMORY, METAMORPHOSIS AND MYTH | EAST GALLERY
JULY 12 - AUGUST 18, 2018
The idea of three triptychs forming a Henge, MEMORY AND METAMORPHOSIS, stem from my discovery and working on a 20 ft. section of an old hollow, black oak tree trunk, about 4ft. in diameter. I divided the hollow trunk into three 6 ft. segments each of which I split vertically so that each segment was opened up into a triptych, resulting in three open books, or three medieval altar pieces, revealing the old tree’s inner life and history. The footprint for each 6 ft. high section is approximately 7’W and 3.5’-5’D. The inner, concave surfaces or the outer, convex bark surfaces were transformed in various ways to suggest new, strange growth and life in a tree that refuses to die. A person can actually walk into the inner space of the tree and imagine the force and struggle of living, dying and regeneration into another form. I have arranged the three triptychs into a henge, or circular formation, so that the viewer will be reminded of myth and ancient ritual while being further immersed in the tree.
The upright shards of the tree were split with a sledge and wedge producing irregular vertical divisions, violent wounds if you will, and the tree shards are arranged at varying angles to create torque and tension in the structure.
Each triptych is treated differently. Number one has new strange growth emanating from the bark leaving the interior concave aspect of the opened tree in it’s undisturbed inherent complexity. Number two contains new growth that resembles the abdominal gut or the serpent from the ancient Greek marble sculpture of Laocoön and his sons. Number three is roughly pierced by cedar lances with new growth struggling from the wounds.
FRANCIS BACON LOVES PROCRUSTES
This free standing sculpture refers to the deceased, great English painter, Francis Beacon, who created many disturbing but beautiful works. He was said to enjoy “rough trade”. Procrustes was an infamous character in Greek myth who was noted for his generous hospitality to strangers traveling by his house. He provided excellent food and drink followed by a very special bed for their last night. A wayfarer was either stretched to fit the bed if he was too short or his legs would be amputated to fit the bed perfectly. Hence the origin of the expression, “procrustean bed”, meaning a situation or place someone is forced into, often violently.
QUIVER FOR SAINT SEBASTIAN
This wall hung sculpture refers to the story of Saint Sebastian a Roman soldier and an early convert to Christianity who was put to death by the Roman authorities because of his conversion. He was tied to a tree and skewered with arrows. There are several Renaissance paintings of this scene.
But in this composition, St. Sebastian’s body becomes the quiver, the vessel slung over the shoulder containing infinite arrows which pierce his body longitudinally. This play on the word, “quiver” is another example of my interest in transforming decay, death or any difficult situation into something alive and aesthetic.