From: Seed To: Root 

2022 Solo exhibition, Sculpture Center, Cleveland, OH

From: Seed To: Root is the cyclical relationship between us and our ancestors, we give, we listen, we learn, we do. They heal, they guide, they nourish, and we grow.

Conceptualized from the highly anthropomorphized African Spirit or Ancestor vessels. These vessels, primarily made by women, use the expressive characteristics of the elements. The material and its process are symbolic of the cycle of life and the worlds of human and spirit, earth, water, air and fire.

These works serve various ritual functions including, an axis for prayer or meditation, joining ceremonies, healing the sick, safeguarding the community, activating ancestral wisdom and the presence of various protective spirits. Their positive intervention was considered vital to maintaining harmony, health and well-being.

Earth,

2 ft. x 1.5 ft. x 1.5 ft.

Pulped kraft paper, soil, red clay, wood beads, hemp thread, glue

Air,

3 ft. x 1 ft. x 1 ft.

Community members and gallery guests

notes to their ancestors; shredded African lost-wax filigree brass trade beads, vintage African lost-wax brass bell beads, Faux suede cord paper pulp, white clay, glue

Fire,

5 ft. x 3.5 ft. x 3.5 ft.

Pulped kraft paper, soil,

black clay, steel nails, glue

Fire5.jpg

Water,

5 ft. x 3 ft. x 3ft.

Reed grass, shredded kraft-paper, paper pulp, soil, clay, bamboo, glue

Earth.jpg
1.Air.jpg
Water5.jpg
Humanity_edited.jpg

Humanity,

2.5 ft. x 3.5 ft. x 3.5 ft.

Shredded kraft-paper, shredded psychological and physiological counselor/teacher assessment paper work, paper pulp, white clay, coco fiber sheets, gold leaf, glue

New Growth

9 ft. x 3 ft. x 3 1/2 ft.

Driftwood, synthetic hair,

cotton thread, metal, wood,

ceramic, seed and shell beads

"New Growth" is a metaphor about nurturing wisdom gained through growth and experience, it's about our connection to our ancestors and to nature. The physical materials are synthetic hair hand-rolled into individual locs, decorated to represent the elements with metal, wood, ceramic, seed and shell beads. Theoretically growing on, then eventually growing into nature, symbolized with driftwood. Connecting both driftwood and hair is cotton thread, conceptually passing on heritage,its traditions and the knowledge that accumulates.

3.New Growth.jpg

Arms,

38 in. x 38 in. x 7 in.

Compost, paper pulp 

   

I wanted to create something of value simply from dirt.  The ironies abound when we consider the “non-value” society ascribes to dirt, yet it is both the actual and metaphoric origin of us all.

The idea for “Arms” was inspired by “Coats of Arms” which has fascinated me on various levels.  In Europe they came to be associated with “Class”, particularly the aristocracy.  An individual’s coat of arms was conferred as a birthright for generations and was considered to be of value further guaranteeing rights and entitlement.  I struggle to understand how society imputes value to objects or people.  It seems to me that the concept of class is one of those elusive conventions that are endowed rather than earned.  And what does this say about value, either inherent or extrinsic?

With respect to this project, I combined compost, newspaper and pulp; a statement left open to interpretation, environmentally and socially.

7.Thursday's Crowd.jpg

Halo,
12 in x 16 in x 16 in

Cast Bronze

 

 

Halo appeared first in the Cleveland Institute of Art’s exhibit in 2003 and then in ArtSpace Cleveland.  This is one of my favorite works, investment cast in bronze and welded from seven separate pieces.  Shortly before the CIA closed their foundry and welding shop, I created a plaster casting tree, and used the “lost-wax” process to create each piece independently.

My theme oriented around “systems” of need and support, and the design of Halo, with its openings for light to “beam” through, was inspired by medieval and early Renaissance artists’ depictions of saints with halos and rays of light emanating from their heads.  For me, this glorification of an elite few has been

Thursday’s Crowd,

7 ft. x 6 ft. x 4 ft.

Fruit crates

Description and concept: This works theme oriented around “systems” of need and support. The design of 11 reclaimed fruit crates opened, twisted and hooked together inside another, was inspired by the large undulating crowd of people standing outside a food service center. It is one of the few food-banks in the city that provide the needy with fresh produce and is where the crates were salvaged.

10.Halo.jpg

interesting yet perplexing with respect to “ascribed” (conferred) versus “attained” (earned) status.  Sainthood appears to mimic other western social systems that arbitrarily dictate status and class.  Specifically, I think of saints as a metaphor or proxy for the privileged class.  Before the church began the process of canonization, the public conferred sainthood on select members of society.  Was this the beginning of class distinctions that have survived to this day?  
And, is it ironic that the public is the body to confer these distinctions on the elite?

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