- Sailing a felucca down the Nile River
Apr 05 2016
- Music Inspirations: Sunday Morning
Mar 13 2016
- Journal Entry: Venice
Jan 10 2016
- Poem 4
Nov 07 2015
- Poem 3
Oct 24 2015
- Poem 2
Sep 17 2015
- Poem 1
Aug 10 2015
- Journal Entry: Train ride to Scotland
Jun 13 2015
- Japanese prints
Nov 23 2014
- a note about inspiration
Aug 02 2014
- Creating Deliberate Art: Choosing a Medium
Dec 07 2015
- Creating Deliberate Art: Introduction
May 30 2015
- Creating Deliberate Art: Compositional Elements
Apr 24 2015
- Creating Deliberate Art: Unifying Theme
Mar 17 2015
- Creating Deliberate Art: Capturing the Inspiration
Feb 10 2015
- Technique: pierced metal
Dec 30 2014
- a note about process
Sep 09 2014
Venice, June 2000: Masquerade of Intimate Affection
Venice, June 2000: Masquerade of Intimate Affection, c. 2011
Steel, copper, bronze, walnut, ambrosia maple, coffee burl
72 x 48 x 96 in
Venice, June 2000: Masquerade of Intimate Affection
In the summer of 2000 I began a journey that would take five years to complete and would span four continents. Much of these memories inspire my art.
My adventure started on a study abroad program to Paris, France, which I very soon began to hate. The unfriendliness of the locals and the grey concrete of the tenament housing neighborhood led me to take as many trips out of the city as possible. One such foray was a trip to Venice, Italy.
I will never forget Venice, and the warmth of affection that it made me feel.
From fresh lobster to lemon gelato, palace squares to squirrelly side causeways, this city heightened my perception. And the people were so lovely. The Italians I met there were so warm and friendly. I received some of the most heartfelt compliments of my life during those few days. In all my travels, I feel like no other city loved me quite the way Venice did.
And the Masks …oh the Masks! Visually stunning and imagination captivating, windows and windows of masks, in shops on every corner, in every alley. I was determined to see them all. Among the thousands, the one that called to me was a beautiful piece of black and gold with furling leaves and a creamy rose.
the original mask, worn with age
Using the inspiration of the masks I saw in Venice, and the intense attraction I had to the city, I set to creating the sculpture Venice, June 2000: Masquerade of Intimate Affection.
Historically, Venice carnival began as a way for the population of the city to express themselves beyond the boundaries of tightly controlled social etiquette. During the masquerade festival, people from all walks of life and any social class could mingle with one another. In this way, by masking their true identities, people gained true freedom. In many ways we play this game of hiding and exposing our emotions when courting love and affection.
Venice is known for romantic love and intimacy, and I indulged my inspiration of the mask by contemplating these emotions. How do these perceptions differ in the masculine and feminine psyche? In the swirl of humanity, how does a singular soul excite another? When thinking of love, what sensory perceptions do we seek to heighten? How do we become aware of those individuals that interest us? What about ourselves do we expose, and what aspects of our character do we hide?
After some study and discussion I became aware that men and women answer these questions very differently. I began to look at the contrast of opposites in relationships and discovered that when opposites attract, sparks start flying.
Visually, this became a fulcrum for the balance of the piece. I wanted to represent two people coming together from very different perspectives, but I also wanted to allude to some of the core differences of the male and female psyche. I desired a structure that was very symmetrical, of two people meeting together on an equal level, desiring the same interaction. Because of this symmetry, and the many structural elements the piece was going to need in construction, choosing two contrasting mediums to create the piece was a natural choice.
In my mind wood and metal are soulmates. I love they way they collaborate to bring visual interest to a piece. The strength and durability of metal, combined with the softness and sensual textures of wood, unite the structure of the sculpture in a ying and yang way. This represents the perfect balance most couples hope to attain in their relationship.
Using the mask as a focal point for the piece, I knew that the interaction between the attracting parties needed to involve the face. After playing with a few different poses, I became inspired by an old picture. The angle of the kiss and the height differences created the interaction I was looking for.
sketch of masks coming together in the kiss
The mask is an interesting object because it both conceals and displays. When meeting people for the first time, and as we progress in our knowledge of one another, there are different aspects of our character or personality that we hide, and others that we portray. Everyone fears rejection and shame. Everyone desires admiration and acceptance. The masks that we wear are a shield against the hurts we feel from other people. When two people are attracted to each other it is very interesting to see the play of the metaphorical mask in their exchanges.
The feminine mask communicates with mouth upturned. In women, verbal attraction plays a significant role. The way that men communicate to women, the words that they say, and the ability to make a woman laugh are large factors that contribute to continued attraction. Therefore, the feminine mask is cast bronze and has been etched with words. These words came from a journal entry written during my travels about a man I met that made me feel lovely and beautiful. The mold for the cast was created by pressing sheet wax against my own face.
sketches for feminine mask
The masculine mask interacts by looking through the eyes. Physical attraction, and the desire to see the admiration and attraction from the woman, is important to the man. The masculine mask is a large solid object manipulated by long hours of hand carving. Coffee wood burl was chosen because of its beautiful dark and light wood grain, and added intense visual interest.
sketches for masculine mask
The steps approaching the interaction of the kiss create contrast by displaying the differing perspectives that the couple are coming from. The man’s stairs are welded steel with the surfaces made from diamond tread plate, typical of heavy duty construction. They were stored outside in the elements to add interest through the warm colors and patterns created by surface rust. This relates to the solidarity, strength, and resilience that are so prevalent in the masculine outlook on life. The woman’s stairs are ambrosia maple, a soft maple with a very organic, irregular grain pattern. The wood was polished and finished to a high sheen to show off the beauty of the wood. The complicated pattern of the wood grain demonstrates the many interconnected emotions that touch on all aspects of the feminine outlook on life.
sketch for stairs: masculine in steel, feminine in wood
The public viewing of this piece is crucial to the understanding of the many elements. I invite the viewer to place themselves in this scene, and create their own associations of love from perceiving the work both visually and physically.
interaction with the sculpture