Tuesday, April 7, 2015

State of Grace, part 3

Punishment of the Grave

"In this great and vast universe there is a balance, spirits travel between worlds never filling one world with so many spirits that it becomes unlivable or taking away so many that it becomes lonely. When a spirit leaves one world it is expected in the next and when those spirits start to disappear it creates an imbalance.

Charged to find the imbalance in the universe is the transforming man. He searches for years, guilt ridden because of what happened to the twins he has not lived as a man since."


Fall of Man detail

Bi-symmetry is a concept I explored in order to understand my research. I looked at the contemporary history of NWC Aboriginal art with the purpose of understanding where I stood in the continuum of NWC art. I discovered the influence that formalism had on my practice, as uncomfortable as that made me feel.

Bi-symmetry in the beginning was a term invented to explain a dual practice of creating for "traditional" use and concurrently creating for a non-Aboriginal or commercial audience

State of Grace utilizes recognizable NWC iconography, such as the Raven, transforming characters and a mortuary box. Yet it is a constructed myth that contains references to non-Aboriginal religious concepts and popular culture. The story was molded by the triptych of the same name but the triptych was changed by the direction of the story.


Punishment of the Grave maquette


"On a small island forgotten by the world there is a tree, and in that tree is a box. That box is the final resting place of the transforming man, but no longer transforming he is just a man, condemned to eternity in a state of neither life nor death. But he is not alone; on either side of the box are two spirits, one male and one female. They have made a vow to never leave their Saviour.

The Raven saddened by the events of this story transformed himself and spent a hundred years traveling as a leaf on the north wind."

State of Grace is a bi-symmetrical exploration of narrative. It is built on the contemporary NWC art history I explored and my attempt to capture the experience I had when I first encountered a Northwest coast mask on my parent’s wall.