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!)
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