Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Amazons: A Celebration of Archetypal and Actual Women

I'm actually writing a blog post! Are you amazed?

Recently I finished a series of mixed media pieces that have been in the works for, literally, years, so I wanted to share them with you!


The Amazons: A Celebration of Archetypal and Actual Women

 Feminist female heroines mean the world to me. Without them in my life (actual or mythical), I would not be the person I am today. This series is a celebration of female power. I call it “The Amazons” because my basic idea when I began the project many moons ago, was to create breastplates of different women and incorporate them into pieces of art. The Amazons, wild warrior women of legend, seemed a perfect touchstone for the idea. It took several years for the concept to germinate within me, but I am pleased to have finally breathed life into them. I hope you enjoy them as well.


A Brief Visual History of the Legendary Golden Micro-Mechanicon
Fashion-Function Corporeal Enhancements
 
(sorry this isn't a great picture)

This is probably one of the most esoteric of the pieces. It’s also the first one I made. The idea behind it is an alternate reality in which Ada Lovelace, who created the first computer language in the 1800s, leaves her husband and children in England (something she dreamed of doing in order to dedicate herself to her work), and moves to America, taking up a young lover. After her death, her one-time lover meets up with Nikola Tesla, who uses her notes to create the first “robots,” which he programs to reproduce themselves at a smaller scale, as those smaller robots also are programmed to do, eventually creating nanobot-like machines. The nanobots could then be embedded in malleable gold and worn by people and placed in specific locations, creating interactive experiences of all sorts.

This is a tribute to the brilliant women of the past who were not allowed to thrive because of cultural limitations, and to all the things they might have been/created had those limitations been released.

 
Mulan 

This piece is inspired by the tale of Mulan, as recounted by Maxine Hong Kingston in The Woman Warrior, a book that I read as a young teen that deeply impacted me. In Kingston’s version, Mulan rallies an army of commoners to dethrone the emperor who has lost all compassion for his people. She marries, bears a child, and sends it away to be cared for in the midst of her many battles, never putting down her sword for a single fight. This is my meditation on the way a woman’s heart can bleed for her home, family, and country, leading her to make mighty changes, righting wrongs and changing the system, and the sacrifices made along the way.

 
Joan 

In honor of Joan of Arc, a childhood hero, this piece celebrates women who listen to their deep spiritual wisdom and inner knowing. Although Joan was a peasant without any education, she changed the fate of two nations because of her bravery, passion, and her willingness to listen to her inner voice of wisdom. Like Mulan, Joan was also a literal warrior, with physical intrepidness to match her fierce spirituality. This piece celebrates the women who, like Joan, and moder n day artist Nike Okundaye (a Nigerian artist who has had no formal education but has given talks world-wide and opened her own art center) have changed and are changing the world we live in, because of their inner light.

 
The Continuing Transformation Journey of Darcy B. 

This piece is the only commissioned one of the group. It is also the only one with two chest pieces – one was made about years before the other – so that it is both a literal and figurative celebration of Darcy’s transformative journey. Throughout our friendship, I’ve witnessed dramatic shifts in Darcy’s inner and outer life, as she has claimed her personal, spiritual power. She is an artist, healer, feminist, and self-made woman who embraces who she is an a beautiful way that I attempted to capture here. The Buddhist hand and lotus is in honor of the way her spiritual journey began at the local Rime Buddhist Center, and the dragon is a symbol of her past-life and inner wisdom emerging. She is a beautiful role model to both myself and others, and I am grateful to call her my friend.

 
Water Warrior 

This piece is also fairly esoteric, celebrating Mother Earth, as she is mostly made of water, as well as the mythical mermaids that protect the seas. As a victim of childhood sexual assault, mermaids capture my imagination for many reasons, but especially because of the way they are said to be deadly to men and also are literally not physically capable of being raped. We need women to stand up for our planet and for themselves, so that neither are being treated in a toxic manner. I can think of no better symbol for that than the mermaid. Each of the words on this piece are a term for mermaid from cultures around the world, symbolizing that we are all parts of each other in both the dream-world and in our physical world.

And that's my Amazons! What do you think of them?

Related posts:
Exhibit Pics: Bits and Bobs
Event Pics: 2014 Chalk Walk Festival
Event Pics: The Art of Discovery

3 comments:

Janet said...

Awesome!!! So glad you finished this!

Superdave said...

Very interesting pieces for sure.

Byron Funkhouser said...

Merry Christmas to May, Matt & Henry

from Byron & Phyllis, plus several adult children :)