16" x 20" Collage on board
found images and personal photos
I feel like the above piece has many "origin threads", for lack of a better term. Detailing how the collage took shape may make things easier to understand so here goes.
On one of my walks during July, I started to notice all of these little holes in the ground. They were covered with spider webs and had a very distinct "funnel like" opening. As I was looking at one, I saw a small spider peer out at me through the opening. I looked this up and I think what I was seeing was a type of "funnel" web spider. As you might expect, the spider builds this web around a hole and the unsuspecting insect gets trapped. The spider pops out to secure his prey. I took several photos of these holes and knew that I wanted to use them. They are such a clear example of one creature preying upon another.
One question I had about this funnel web setup was whether or not a non human creature could be hopeful. Was that spider in the hole hoping, in his own way, to catch something? How could that expectation be measured? Does our inability to really gauge that hopefulness prevent us from appreciating that spider, and by extension, other forms of life? Do we ultimately see other creatures as ours to possess and manipulate because we don't understand them or have empathy? These are deep but necessary questions.
The next thing that happened was Liz Cheney's loss in her bid for re election to the house of representatives. I am not even a Republican but I felt this loss keenly. Have we turned into a nation of liars? People who lie and it's just fine? It seems incredibly un American to me. Fundamentally un American. This is where the spider/web quote came from. Lies beget more lies. It's a way of being that does indeed become tangled. Incidentally, that isn't a Shakespeare quote. It's a Sir Walter Scott quote. I looked it up!
I also wanted to give a sense of the importance of time and the life cycle. The little girl is young, set against a clock that shows no specific time. She is surrounded by flowers and tarweeds. (Tarweeds are common to my area and very interesting. They exude a resin which traps insects that would otherwise prey on the plant. The plant has evolutionarily developed this resin which then attracts other insects that eat the dead and dying insects that have been trapped. The plant developed a defense mechanism against predation.) The vultures await in the background on a dead tree. Vultures are scavengers and great cleaner-uppers. There are three crows who might signify death to some but maybe even joy and celebration to others. And lastly, Rosh Ha Shanah is Sunday. It's a time of rebirth and renewal, repentance and reflection. It's a time to make and to be made whole again. It's the biggest time in the Jewish calendar; the most significant. Your fate hangs in the balance, literally. God is judging so you better get it together quick! I made a little envelope depicting the words to the sacred poetry that is written for this holiday.
I called the piece Perspective for several reasons. Who is the prey and who is being preyed upon? Death and life are all around us and at any moment you may be on one side of the coin or the other. Beauty and terror side by side. Youth and innocence right alongside age old symbols. And, lying where once there was truth. Everything depends on perspective I guess.
Lastly, my biggest coup this time was the image of the girl. She is integrated with my own photos of the tarweeds and the spider hole. I thought the blending of those three items went very well. My time as a quilter where I learned about applique came in handy. I "fussy cut" the tarweed flowers and the leaves from the photo of the girl. I scattered them around to hide the transition from the girl image to the spider hole image. That transition contained a very hard line which I thought abrupt. The leaves from the girl photo and tarweed flowers served to soften that line.
Happy New Year to everyone. (An early thought): May you all have a "good sealing" as you ponder your transgressions and how to atone. May we all be inscribed in the highest of books on the right side of that particular ledger.
Shana Tovah (good year) and my new favorite,
tizkee vetihyee ve’orekh yamim (may you merit life-long life!)
PS-I followed the good example of my friend Randall and have started using the feed reader "Followit". You can now simply choose to follow these posts via email. You can find one of two buttons that are placed on the home page of my site or on the blog post page upper right corner. Let me knw how you do.
Carry On (Business as Usual)
16" x 20" collage
found images, personal photos
This piece started as a collage in my sketchbook and came from an idea that I had seen in my mind's eye. As is often the case, what I saw in my mind was better than the subsequent sketch! That's OK though. That is what a sketchbook is for right? To try something our before it hits prime time.
I went on to some other ideas, more sketches that worked out, and I refined my idea. I made a couple of journals, a new idea for me, and I did a few more paper sketches. Finally, I got my act together and got my idea solidified.
The piece reflects my mindset about global warming and in general, our collective attitude towards our environment and our future. At first, the little girl with that expression on her face, had me stymied. Was she the protagonist or the antagonist? I think she is both. We want to have our cake and to eat it too. The end will come but in the meantime I have got to get to the grocery store. Let me hop in my car, use up some gas (sorry Mr. Dinosaur), and buy something! I am not negating or ignorant of the things that are being done everyday to help our situation. Real people are working diligently to answer big questions. But, it's grim. In my neck of the woods, we will be having a week of record temperatures. I am talking 112, 116, 108 degrees. In September. We are going down and that is that. And I didn't know there was a name for the worry that I have. It's called eco anxiety. Did you know that? I didn't.
In any case, the piece references the poor Dodo, long gone now, the red hot world to come and the cockroach which may be one of the survivors. There is of course our red hot planet as well as a nod to Bob Dylan and his series of signs (Subterranean Homesick Blues). I also included an image of the letter "K" for keystone species, my own image of "weeds" and of course that crazy girl in the car shoving time out of the way, somehow. That head on the girl is from some other source but the car itself and the body in it is from a Dick and Jane book. That girl is little Sally shoving a couple of dogs out of her way (in the story). Big baby that Sally is, I thought she represented much of the population in her impatience. (I am not perfect OK? I am sitting here in my air conditioned home using propane and doing God knows what all else to bring about the end.)
It's not all bad news, though I am re reading Silent Spring. Not really good news but alright. I have discovered what are called "junk journals" though I really dislike that term. I have made three books of my own, one of which reflects the collages that I do. My thought is that the book and my collages go together, one informing the other. I am finishing one up right now that reflects the same sort of theme as the above piece and uses many of the same images. The books are fun to do and help to use up some of the printed images that I have on hand. They are very methodical which appeals to me. It's really a step by step process and very satisfying to have several complete pages at the end of the day.
Alright, that's it for now. I hope anyone reading is doing alright. The whole country looks like it is suffering through the heat. Sigh...
Thanks for reading,