|A Second Kind of Lonliness|
I am completely inspired and will definitely be adding images to my sketchbook as a reference to how much gesture can peak volumes in recognizing ourselves in the Other. This piece above is my favourite. Not only does it speak to exactly how I feel these days, but this sculpture holds a little surprise: it breathes. Every eight seconds, a little burst of air escapes the goats mouth and makes the pinwheel spin slowly. Heartbreaking. Beautiful. Love.
Beth Cavener Stichter has a gift with her medium. Her craftsmanship is impeccable and that is onething I really appreciate. When I first saw these sculptures, I thought perhaps they were made of latex– that the figures might be smooth and malleable, even retain the warmth of the gallery lights perhaps. Knowing that they are clay makes me appreciate them in a whole new way. The figures are spirits created from earth like a story told long ago about man. They are fragile, mortal and somehow, with the context and emotion of the work, that seems fitting albeit a little unfortunate; their suffering will never end. But in that perhaps we are to remember all the animals who live out their days in laboratories, and factory farms, in places where they are not seen as having worth, let alone emotion or a soul. This perhaps is what haunts me most about them- they remind us of the horrors we inflict upon them for which we are all guilty.
Her artist statement describes the work but until you actually see it the subtleties of which she speaks are hard to imagine:
There are primitive animal instincts lurking in our own depths, waiting for the chance to slide past a conscious moment. The sculptures I create focus on human psychology, stripped of context and rationalization, and articulated through animal and human forms. On the surface, these figures are simply feral and domestic individuals suspended in a moment of tension. Beneath the surface they embody the impacts of aggression, territorial desires, isolation, and pack mentality.
Both human and animal interactions show patterns of intricate, subliminal gestures that betray intent and motivation. The things we leave unsaid are far more important than the words we speak out-loud to one another. I have learned to read meaning in the subtler signs; a look, the way one holds one's hands, the tightening of muscles in the shoulders, the incline of the head, the rhythm of a walk, and the slightest unconscious gestures. I rely on animal body language in my work as a metaphor for these underlying patterns, transforming the animal subjects into human psychological portraits.
I want to pry at those uncomfortable, awkward edges between animal and human. The figures are feral and uneasy, expressing frustration for the human tendency towards cruelty and lack of understanding. Entangled in their own internal and external struggles, the figures are engaged with the subjects of fear, apathy, violence and powerlessness.
Something conscious and knowing is captured in their gestures and expressions. An invitation and a rebuke.
|Everything is Dust|
|I Am No One|
|Rabbit Leaping over Nothing|
|A Rush of Blood to the Head|