Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Poetry and Sculpture
James Merrill's epic poem The Changing Light At Sandover begins describing his failed attempts at writing a novel. He decided to write it instead as an epic poem. This section inspired my approach to the carved wooden figures I make.
"I yearned for the kind of unseasoned telling found
In legends, fairy tales, a tone licked clean
Over the centuries by mild old tongues,
Grandam to cub, serene, anonymous....
...an orphaned form, whose followers,
Suckled by Woolf not Mann, had stories told them
In Childhood, if at all, by adults who
They could not love or honor. So my narrative
Wanted to be limpid, unfragmented;
My characters, conventional stock figures
Afflicted to a minimal degree
With personality and past experience-
A witch, a hermit, innocent young lovers,
The kinds of being we recall from Grimm,
Jung, Verdi, and the commedia dell'arte.
I love the line"a tone licked clean Over the centuries by mild old tongues, Grandam to cub, serene, anonymous."
The excerpt above and my love for folk art inspired me to make figurative sculptures as small archetypes. A small figure can pack a big idea. Being small isn't threatening. It allows the concept to get into the viewers mind as everyone has played with dolls and puppets. You can say more dangerous and true things about life and death "playing" than are normally allowed. What's funny and true at one scale is bombastic at a larger scale.