About the Piece
De/Termination was born in a flurry
of motion with me quickly chucking clay onto my sculpting stand. In
these moments I imagine that “if I can just keep sculpting, I can
keep death at arm’s length”. This piece is about me trying to stay
alive, to create a fountain of life that rises above death. Seeing
this sculpture my mom, Verna Robinson, commented: “All ends up in
the bone yard, all ends up dry bones, what continues on after we are
gone is what we have called forth.” She thought it looked as if the
three large faces were speaking their legacies, and that the figures
coming out of the mouths were the ideas that transcend death and
live beyond the grave.
Three large faces represent different aspects of myself that help me
The first of the faces is a self-portrait with two puti angels
tumbling from my lips that represent life, joy and all the dear
sweetness that babies bring.
The second colossal head is a Hindu goddess with a dancing Indian
woman issuing from her mouth. The Indian woman, her tongue sticking
out like Kali’s, has a non-emotional quality like some of the women
in my other works who are focused goddesses that rule their worlds.
The third large bust is a Tiki God of war; a horse bursts from his
open jaw speaking to beauty, power, the raw energy of life, and is
the male counterpart to the Indian woman.
Between the heads are three motifs: a curvilinear and symmetrical
pattern speaks to order over chaos; a second area suggests life
giving water; the third section images fire, vines, and floral
elements that reference energy and life. It is not important that
these things are realistically represented, as much as what they
evoke: feelings of motion, life, wind, water.
Death is represented by six skeletons at the base of the sculpture.
This piece was challenging was to make. Even when it was two thirds
of the way finished, it wasn’t jelling and I really had to keep
working to get the piece to come together.