ARTIST'S STATEMENT This portfolio is strongly influenced by the concepts found in Depth Psychology. It focuses on the power of myth in all cultures. According to psychologist C.G. Jung, myths are not just poetic narratives about the distant past, but the essence of the "collective unconscious" manifested through archetypal images that are experienced as emotions surrounding important events like birth and death. They represent universal patterns in the saga of the human species, rather than the life experiences of an individual. They are collective, not personal.
One example of an archetype is the Ouroboros. On the physical level, a snake or dragon is depicted eating its own tail. As an archetypal symbol, it represents integration and assimilation of the opposite (the Other or the Shadow). It embodies immortality. It slays itself and simultaneously regenerates life. In Buddhist terms, unity (the One) is the result of the clash of opposites (yin-yang). It allows the regeneration, wholeness, and unity resulting from the integration of unwanted parts of ourselves (the Shadow) into consciousness.
The serpent is the archetypal inhabitant of the "Garden of Eden," with its familiar connotations, that are universal rather than cultural. Another manifestation of the snake archetype is the "Feathered Serpent," significant in Native American cultures. It involves dual symbolism that is neither good nor bad. Being feathered, it can fly above earthbound limits. It is also scaled and can slither on the ground with people, possibly bringing death.
The stork appears in several of my images. It embodies motherhood. It is also a totem symbol of rebirth - a consequence of its migration pattern: its return each spring announces renewed life. It lives in water (symbolizing purity, flow, life) but must walk in the mud, suggesting that humans must struggle with problems in order to be transformed.
Like the stork, the lotus has its roots in murky water. Its flower arises each day free of mud and lives in the air, but must return each night to the mud. It is a a poetic expression of the Ouroboros and is the symbol of purity, enlightenment, and rebirth.
The eagle is in many cultures a symbol of strength and courage. Paradoxically, it can represent misused power, such as in the Third Reich.
Male and female animal and human figures are included. They are not living beings and may be glass figures, actually and philosophically transparent and evanescent. The images "Gracie at Six" and "Round of Birth and Death" are more tangible and emotional. All are participants in the round of life, death, and rebirth. They are in a "Ouroboros" cycle, like the snake eating its tail.
These images generally consist of two parts. One element is a monochromatic black and white photographic landscape that is almost "realistic." The other element consists of non-representational color images. The combination of the two is a blended image that reveals the symbolic, transformational, and often contradictory content. The polychrome element is Synthetist, Expressionist, and Symbolist.
It is Synthetist in the sense of a breakdown in the "natural" appearance of things in order to allow a re-combination of my own choosing.
It is Expressionistic in the use of color in a seemingly arbitrary way to convey emotional meaning, as opposed to color that is descriptive.
It is Symbolist in the impulse to present each image as a transformation, a caricature, or an equivalent of some critical archetypal myth or symbol — in other words, a "forest of symbols."