Icon For My Parents, 2001

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November 14, 2012 by smithartonline

Icon For My Parents, 2001
Mixed Media on Round Panel
20 X 24 inches

Here is a piece from a decade ago: a time when I used round panels almost exclusively. I started using these supports after viewing an exhibition of American Indian shield covers at the Southwest Museum of the American Indian, which is currently administered by the Autry Center. I still enjoy working within the constraints of the shape, and the hanging system actually was seen in a Japanese art exhibit: once again a fusion of cultures from around the world.

This is a commemorative work: I generally do not do such things, but I have, on occasion, produced commemoratives. This one celebrates the lives of my parents and employs symbols I associate with them: some personal, some more universally identifiable. The two main symbols, the sword and rose are obvious references: my father was a military man, hence the sword. You will note there is also another sword thrust into the ground: he died in the military. The rose is broken: my mother had died shortly before I created the work. There are plenty of other symbols scattered about. I’ll let someone working on a PhD thesis come up with the specifics. Who knows, I might be surprised myself at the meanings floating around this.

I seem to walk a fine line between presenting symbolic imagery and totally bewildering my viewers. On the one hand, I prefer the viewer to bring personal insight to the work, but it has been pointed out to me that my imagery is not always accessible. Perhaps my work may best be described as a visual stream of consciousness, albeit a polluted stream of consciousness. I am still debating whether a dictionary of symbolic imagery should be provided or not. (The debate has been raging for at least 30 years with no definite solution in sight)


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