This is the second in a series of bone that were tattooed with pyrography, an ancient burning technique. The material is from a bovine vertebrae, all one piece. I see it as a symbolic mask. Hopefully it will have the same hypnotic effect on the audience.
King Neptune and Salacia are the royal couple of the sea. Equipped with his famous trident, Neptune is controlling and fierce, determined to win the hand of a reluctant Salacia. By contrast, Salacia is carefree as the calm sea she represents and resists surrendering the good life of a sea nymph to assume the role of Neptune’s queen. The chase ends in marriage and the couple reign together over the sea. Battling stormy seas or celebrating calm waters, theirs is the timeless battle over control and surrender.
While making this piece, I envisioned a king holding up a trident exerting his primal power.By his side stands a queen, whose beauty shimmers like sun on water. Surrounded by tides that shape a salty bay, I watch the mighty currents created by reversing tides, and I consider the force that created them. Tides represent the opportunity for self-renewal and also signify good timing. I am just discovering how to go with this flow. Without the magic of Neptune’s trident, I must rely on common sense, intuition, and patience. Sometimes I’m better off waiting for the opportunities brought in with the tide, and that wisdom is applied to both making art and living life.
Loki is a famous prankster in Norse mythology. He is a master manipulator and his shape shifting gets him out of trouble time and again. He is tolerated by Odin mostly because he is endearing. He maintains a pleasant nature, even while stabbing you in the back. He puts himself first, always, but when he is on a mission to save his own skin, he may just accidentally become useful.
Loki presented himself while I was carving into this horse’s sacrum. I carved in the lines, but somehow the piece was screaming for something more prominent. I chose to enhance the grooves by using a burning tool, a process known as pyrography. The end result was clownish and mythical. Looking at the sculpture, I imagine Loki shape shifting into a raven. He appears to hold a smaller package in his clutch; perhaps it’s another gift for Odin.
I have always been drawn to Native American symbols. The Y’ei mask is particularly interesting. The geometric shapes are deeply symbolic. The name Yei derives from the word Yeibicheii meaning the Holy People.
I began creating these masks as a way of teaching myself metal work. Once I discovered how the Y’ei masks complimented the etched bone sculpture, I gave it a copper face and created my first mixed media sculpture.
Ironically, my first piece was created on the day Pat Conroy died, March 4, 2016, and so I named it “Prince of Tides.” It gives a voice to these jawbones and sets them in a human posture with their arms waving as if floating mysteriously in tidal water. It all fit together so nicely that I call the sculptures the “Prince of Tides” series.
There are tensculptures in the series so far: Prince of Tides, Trumpeter, Medicine Woman, Sedna, Narwhale, Twins, Royal Couple, Walrus, Odin, and Pretty White Bird.
Home for a visit, Medicine Woman is blessing the new year with a shake of her golden rattle. May all who see her feel the energy and soar into a new year free of evil spirits. She resides in Liberty Maine at the Davistown Museum. Here is the link:
Birth is a pathway to eternity. Bones remain the sole witness of a mortal existence and provide a narrative of our earthly life. My work shows that death is not morbid, but simply the end of growth; I strive to resurrect forgotten spirits and recover stories of those deceased. In my sculptures, bones have a voice; they can now forever speak for themselves.
I dedicate this piece to my nephews Matt, Mike, and grandniece Amber, gone but not forgotten.