Creation Story

Terra Cotta
21” H x 8” W x 8" D

About the Piece

I am inspired by artists who work spontaneously, from their subconscious. I was able to work this way on Creation Story because I am gaining a better understanding of body proportions and how I can effectively distort the figure without it looking too grotesque. I kept in mind “La Grande Odalisque” and her three extra vertebrae. So, as I worked I tried not to think too much, I just kept focusing on chucking clay up on the stand to make interesting patterns and forms that flowed and created appealing elements that make sense in their own right. Also, I wanted this piece to have a flavor of India about it, without being an overtly Indian piece of art.

The title of this piece envisions men and women working together to create order, beauty and life. It moves beyond the narrow confides of a dogmatic creation story, and instead presents our religious myths as a symbolic dialogue that inspires and comforts us, mirroring back to us our past, present and future dreams. I was very inspired by my brother’s partner who labored to birth their son. My brother relayed mythic tales of her heroic efforts and how she spent many hours in hard labor to birth their dear little baby. Her birthing story is awe inspiring, it is profound.

It was aware that by working on Which Church and Creation Story simultaneously they helped to inform the other piece. In my studio I have two sculpture stands and I often work on two or more sculptures at the same time. I work on one until I am frustrated, or can’t get the solutions I need, and then I work on the other piece. Or, I work on one piece for several days and leave the other covered for a few days. Then, when I returned to the other piece days later I have fresher eyes. I think it is interesting how these two pieces are facets of the same constellation of ideas surrounding men and women working together to either make up an institution like the church, or to work together in creative pursuits like birthing children, the future, beauty and order.

Although, I do not consider myself an auditory learner, I strive for my work be informed by some of the same concepts musicians use in their pieces such as layering, syncopation, patterns of repeating choruses, etc. Thinking about music’s structure allows me a different vantage point from which to view the elements and principles of design such as line, shape, direction, size, texture, color, value, balance, gradation, repetition, contrast, harmony, dominance, and unity. Sometimes when I am listening to a really good song, I think to myself, how I can get those same emotions, feelings, or structures in my sculptures. A friend pointed out to me how they appreciated the mandorla pattern peaking through spaces in this sculpture, in their words, it was kind of “sexy” to have this fabric-like element peaking through and teasing the viewer. This was what I like to call a “happy accident”. When making the sculpture, I had all of the figures in place and ended up with small patches of space that I couldn’t decide what to do with. So, I added a fabric-like mandorla pattern to these areas. This gives the piece a layered effect, as if these tiny bits of hidden fabric are peeking through in random areas, adding an element of surprise.