“Between Apes & Angels”


Is getting well ever an art, Or art a way to get well?                Robert Lowell, Unwanted

I believe the following excerpt from one of my favourite books (Fruits of the Moon Tree by Alan Bleakley) best explains my relationship to the objects in my current project “Life Tools Power Objects” . This is  a book  I continue to return to, to refresh my knowledge and clarify assumptions about the world. Mr Bleakley writes, “The evolution ofl human beings has involved a develpment of self-awareness, of reflexivity, as in-turning to reflection on what it is to be human. But such growth has also divorced us from our roots in the mineral, plant and animal kingdoms”. He goes on to say, ” chapters 2,3,4, have given some clues as to how we may reconnect with stones, trees and animals, through the mineral,plant and animal parts of ourselves; through coming to know there languages or tongues. The Medicine Wheel turn we turn the Wheel of creative effect when we respectfully re-contact our place in the wider sphere of all aspects of life and death – when we re-vision our place in the eco-system. Our psychologies, as urbanized peoples, show that not only are we quite seriously alienated from the rhythms of the natural world, but that we are alienated from and defended against our own natures – our potential and deeper rhythms, our soul’s motion – the mineral plant and animal worlds that constitute us, as well as our uniqueness as human beings”.

So eloquently said,   I really can’t add much only that my journey as an artist from an early period in my development involved a call towards these realms for inspiration and companionship. Nothing new, artists have always been inspired by there surroundings, however I felt that in the current setting of art making today, in 2014 that there is an absence of this spiritual reflexivity. In the work “Life Tools Power Objects” I have decided to reveal these hidden tools that have inspired me, motivated me, and kept me alive at times and focused on my creative souls path.

It has been difficult for me to reveal in depth all the realizations from my commitment to these non artistic materials and pursuits, however as I move forward in this project  with examining their influence I am shoring up that commitment to exposing my personal artistic lens.  One of the biggest hurdles was the reflecting on the power of objects and wether they have any sustained value or do they reveal their secrets and fall silent once again.

I remember back in the early eighties being on St Marcs Square in New York selling my Arkansa quartz pendants, and having a very dapper business man take me aside, putting his briefcase down, pulling his tie to the side and opening his shirt discretely and showing me a quartz hanging from his neck. I was surprised at how guarded he was about it, didn’t want to buy anything just simply wanted me to know he was on my wavelength, and really that is how people hide and protect the things that keep the ticking. My intention is to reveal as much as I can about my own experiences.

Enjoying in a hotspring on Io in Hokkaido. Wearing a found mask and holding a crow feather.
Enjoying a soak in a hotspring on Mount Io in Hokkaido, wearing a found mask and holding a feather from a crow that hung around with me for three days.

I am pumped at telling the stories and circumstances of these sometime plain and sometimes spectacular objects. When I began this project I photographed well over two hundred items that I intimately cherished for the memories and the connections to places and times. Many of the animal artifacts gross out my daughter and wife so sleeping with skunk pelts and wolf hides is too bizarre an activity, but my wolf skin brings me into their realm in my dreams. I have dreamt of being a wolf, actually feeling the leaves of the underbrush across my wolf ears, sniffing the dirt as I run through the night with the pack. Really stimulating and soul expanding, so patience as I recount the tales and adventures and the work inspired from these experiences.

*quote (Fruits of the Moon Tree by Alan Bleakley, Gateway Books, Bath UK

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