Dark Matter, at GearBox Gallery, Oakland, CA, 9/28 – 10/21, 2017.
As a sculptor completely enamored with the physicality of regular old 3D matter, I find the concept of dark matter fascinating. That unknowable cosmic stuff whose existence scientists can only infer is an indication of the awesomeness & mystery of the universe. But the term also suggests a dark side of our human nature, which led me to examine my own personal dark matters in this series.
These sculptures emanate from an impulse to go black, a challenge to delve into what dark matter might mean to me. They are partly a reflection of a black mood, & partly a desire to depart from my usual inclination to go towards the “light”.
The pieces in this exhibit began as simple form ideas. Inspired by the abstract heads & figures in a recent exhibit by Joseph Mele & Carol Dalton, I started with the 2 pieces which became Ditch Witch & effigy. Working on them & thinking about the theme, formal aspects of materials, textures, & colors took on specific meaning. Implement, wheel, & open flask, for example, became symbols of human industry with the potential for good or evil.
Mud, to me, is shorthand for the messy, mucky, emotional turmoil & psychic dramas we humans experience. It is a metaphor for the dark matter of the individual – an unpredictable source of volatile energy. And, as a woman, I associate Mud with the female. She seems more closely connected to that primal mixture of water and dirt, and I feel that personally. But that muddiness is also a source of knowledge & power. In my work for this exhibit, a character that I call Mudwoman emerged, in both Ditch Witch and Spook, as a kind of avatar of deep earth & body knowledge.
At present, the world seems overwhelmed with darkness – socially, politically, & environmentally. I find myself in a dark mood, pessimistic. Maybe I’m summoning the mudwoman spirit in all of us to combat this chaos. Making these objects, as always, has been an absorbing, meditative, and restorative process, as I hope viewing them might be.