October 1, 2015 by smithartonline
It is advantageous to bounce between media to reinvigorate the Muses. For some time now I have been working on paper and muslin supports; it has been a good run but it was starting to get a bit old. Taking the self-generated hint, I went back to the constructed boxes. The cutting and sanding of repeated shapes in and of itself is somewhat calming (or mind-numbing). This use of cut forms allows me the luxury of playing with the elements in the design of the piece…moving them around and changing their visual relationships. I will be making a similar but larger work for an exhibition opening in November, but I have started with this smaller work (8X 10 inches) just to get back in the swing of things.
As a storyteller I present the viewer with visual elements to create a personal tale. There are visual references both traditional and self generated. Some elements are admittedly pretty obscure. I have been using my cache of whale related symbols of late…recently they are presented in conjunction with the tethered theme. I have also continued to reference traditional folklore and mythological tales of the soul-catcher. Usually these stories come from Ireland and the Orkney Islands and revolve around the selkie. I have simply transposed the theme over to the whale. As a rule I generally avoid stating specific references but I will explain one useful symbol: the inverted bottle which is common in selkie and merrow stories as a container for the souls of those lost at sea.