The following photographs are of unresolved and unfinished sculptures – please make allowances for the roughness.
I have been working on three projects lately. I do not usually work on this many projects at the same time, but I have had a real problem with the first of the projects. I have lost my way with it and I am completely flummoxed about how to proceed. The second project has been badly interupted by the Covid-19 crisis.
‘The Triumph of Hope’. Bronze, stainless steel
I have been reinterpreting religious images which come from various ages and cultures and trying to establish some kind of dialogue between them. There are five separate pieces I am working on that come together to form the sculpture. The images include a Black Madonna, an image of the Diana of Ephesus, a reinterpretation of Baal, a reinterpretation of Sadeler’s vision of Hell and finally a version of the Winged Victory of Samothrace.
The real problem I have is that I am still not quite sure how to articulate what this about.
I understand what I am looking for, which is imagery that culminates in a notion of redemption but which gets there via dubious hypotheses. It is almost as if our religious worlds too are defined by a dialectical process. We seem to bounce about imagining a religious cosmos that is defined in turn by gender, violence, fear, despair, hope or transcendence.
But am I taking on something which is inimical to sculpture? I don’t know. Do I just present the sculpture as 5 idiosyncratic objects in a circle and then let the viewer interpret it as they choose?
I am unsure what to do, so I am having a break from it. I am hoping time and divine inspiration will provide the solution.
What I want to achieve in this sculpture is a bit like the Saint-Just quote (famously requoted by IHF) about the present order being the disorder of the future.
The second project I am working on is trying to see how far I can push characterisations of people. It is a project that has been rudely interrupted by Covid-19 and I have been forced to put the project on the back burner.
Can a pair of shoes represent a person? Or a suitcase, a luggage label and so on? Still early days, but I now need to get some serious stainless steel fabrication done and I need to get several other things ready to make the plasma cutting cost-effective.
The last project concerns Muses. I have always used muses to guide me. They are invariably female but they are not necessarily the archetypical muses that artists are supposed to have. I am much more interested in seeing in someone a compatible mindset. My muses have ‘isness’, simplicity and modesty – more importantly, they are knowledgeable, intelligent and unencumbered by ‘good taste’. Looking at the world from their perspective is very helpful.
I am working on four large sculptures and six table top muses. In all of them I have used a simple pottery bowl – a rice bowl or a fruit bowl – as a metaphor for plenty and as a symbol of the muse herself. Waxes have been produced and some fabrication has been done. I am happy with progress.
The last image is of a triangle from over thirty years ago. At that time there was a tussle between a poet and a sculptor over a muse. It was eventually resolved to the satisfaction of all parties. I married the muse.
So little time, so much to do!