Saturday, February 16, 2013

Effigies, launched

And - YES- it took a village!

Sue Getchell and I have worked very closely and yet very independently on our distinct yet interrelated formulations leading to a series of three sculptures (so far), inspired by the Paracas Female Effigy (see previous post). We also owe thanks to Janet and Celeste.

Thank you, Celeste, for guiding our research about the Paracas Effigy and helping us discover significant anthropological narratives regarding its civilization of origin. The sociocultural and artistic values of this piece are deeply interconnected: symbols of snakes depicted on the body take on meanings of power, light and darkness, present and future. Through discovery, our project of creating effigies evolved into imagining these people in their roles, shaded by today's understandings: a shamanka, a noblewoman, and a shaman.

Thank you, Janet, for nourishing my spirit and for taking on the task of identifying the style of the braids on the Paracas Effigy and weaving them carefully into these intricate contributions to the Female Effigy: Shamanka.

And here she is:

And here are the two collaborative pieces. Meet Female Effigy: Noble Woman and the Male Effigy: Shaman respectively.

Read below to shed some light on the meaning of this series in our artist statement.

Imagine an effigy as your only portal to understanding a long-gone people - their ways of living, beliefs &  values.
The Female Effigy Jar (MFA Boston, Ancient Americas) that inspired the series of effigies created by Liliana Glenn & Susan Getchell, lampwork glass & fiber artists respectively, is attributed to Paracas (Peru), 200-1 B.C.
The Paracas Effigy is known to depict the burial style in which the body was wrapped in many layers of intricate, ornate, & finely woven textiles. Its most prominent features include (1) the opening of the jar which signifies the mouth of the depicted individual and (2) snakes symbolizing power and  life after death.
After much research, Glenn & Getchell interpreted and executed a series of effigy sculptures re-imagining ways of living in a society, the roles individuals took on as its members. Looking back informs the artists’ own understanding of modern life;  land & time are only superficial barriers to valuing artistic expression.

We are very excited to have had the opportunity to work together and are looking forward to continuing our work in this series.
The chance to apply to a publication provided a great impetus for the values we both hold dear i.e. always learning about the world: past and present, ourselves and each other, the media we seek expression in and the connections to many communities in which our identities are always evolving and thriving...

... as are yours.
Stay in touch!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Making of the Female Effigy Jar

 I bet you've had that experience when you're walking down the street and your eyes are suddenly summoned to an intriguing view of a person whose face, hair, other body parts and expressions excite your sensory buds to an extent to which your mind's eye starts wondering, wondering about that person's story. However, it rarely lasts... the wonder, unless I'm able to make a connection between that physical expression and my emotions, my feelings, my experience... 

When I first saw this sculpture, I couldn't walk away from it without coming back, and again, in awe - it spoke to me of pain and despair, and it frightened me. This is when I decided to read about it.
As I knew more I felt even more with each dive into its history. The insides unraveled into scrolls and scrolls of experience in my extended family, my eyes stirring at the hands of my grandmother and her mother's sitting in front of a loom, carefully placing each thread, one in front of the other as if they are her children who, if placed just right, will eventually unveil themselves and their role in this tightly spun piece of social fabric.

It is no wonder that, after many years since their passing, I wrap my memories of them and their influence in my life in images and objects like this effigy and many others included in the Ancient American Collection at the MFA. I feel the connection to the people who buried their dead and insisted on having something less biodegradable to remember them by. The objects they created were appropriate expressions in their times, and yet, two thousand years later, they transcend and arouse emotions that I understand and feel really deep inside me. These are words, images, narratives and gestures that unite us all across time and land.

So, here I am, in my studio creating while connecting while channeling the aesthetic appeal of this piece. From raw emotion to tight design, while seeking direction, which aspects am I invested in as a maker? 

And, remember, this is a collaboration... But more about that in my (previous and) next post...

So, here are a few pics of the work I've done. They are beads in three categories which will then become components of one sculpture: a face, a body and footing.

I went ahead and assembled one sculpture for which I designed an etched brass component and the hemp braids were skillfully woven by Janet. This piece is still evolving.

Stay tuned for my next post where I will introduce you to Sue's contributions.