March 20, 2013 by smithartonline
Here is a recent work on paper with a slightly different source material involved with its genesis. The central orange area contains a landscape with flying birds. This was developed after I saw a friend’s First Nation drum. The face of the drum has a stylized mountain and birds in flight over the landscape image. The presentation worked for me, so I incorporated it into my own work.
There are stag horns incorporated around the orange central image, and the little Kitsune image also sports a pair of stag horns. This is a reference to the trickster/shape-shifter aspects of the traditional Kitsune from Japan. Some of the tales relate stories of hunters being led astray by the Kitsune impersonating the prey, then suddenly adopting a new form and escaping in the nick of time, thus thwarting the unsuspecting hunter. (Being a vegetarian, I think it is a great story)
There are moon shapes in silver gilding throughout the piece: the moon sometimes being associated with the Kitsune, though more often with the rabbit in traditional Japanese tales.
I have continued to hang these paper pieces by suspending them from five screws through brass rivets. This is a system I first encountered at the Southwest Museum of the American Indian (now part of the Autry National Center) in Highland Park. In the 1970s I saw a huge buffalo hide painting displayed using this same system and the idea has stayed with me until, in recent years, I decided I like it enough to utilize it with my own pieces. I also like showing the deckle edges and the artifacts of creation, such as the pinholes from stretching the paper on a frame. I found hanging the paper from the top edge allows it to adjust and move a bit, avoiding warping.
The jury is still out on this one. The idea sure seemed great at the time, but I think I need some distance from this one for a bit until returning with new eyes. I don’t hate it, but I am not madly in love with it either. I best give it some time.