Comet Reliquary

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May 13, 2016 by smithartonline

Comet Reliquary Mixed Media Constructed Box 19 X 25 X 3 inches

Comet Reliquary
Mixed Media Constructed Box
19 X 25 X 3 inches

Comets are often associated with change…usually negative change. In this case I still see them as harbingers of change, but present them as opportunities to choose personal direction; hence the oak tress referenced in two the inset areas. One tree burns and one does not. I also include a few symbolic references from Buddhism. (At this point I should mention that I am not a practicing Buddhist, but I do have great respect for those who are committed to the practice. If pressed, I admit to being a “Religions 101” philosopher: investigate everything I can and then adapt the parts that speak to me. So far this has worked pretty well, depending upon my mood of the moment.) The Wheel of the Dharma is somewhat hidden at the bottom area, and the deer reference the Deer Park Sermon. The use of the white deer is a lift from Celtic tradition. Often in Celtic literature a person is guided to another place or understanding by a white stag. Numerous symbols are scattered throughout the painting, some are from definite sources while others are self-generated: I leave the meanings to each viewer to interpret in their own way, a personal relationship developing between the artwork and the audience.

Comet Inset

Comet Inset

Comet Reliquary has really gone off in its own direction during its creation. It morphed from a piece focused on whale symbolism to the Icarus story and, finally, to its present form. Symbolic elements also changed significantly. Construction elements were made and then discarded, most notable two gold leafed shutters that were to be hinged to either side of the openings. I hoped they would work out but proved way too over-powering for the rest of the work. (All is not lost though, the shutters will find their way to another work down the road.)

Quite by accident, the two openings contain comet images mirroring each other. Recently I became aware of the end of year member exhibition at the Chaffey Community Museum of Art in Ontario. The title of the show is “Reflections,” so the piece should fit in quite nicely with the theme.


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