Myth-Begotten Monuments

Monday, January 1, 1996

In our first discussions of possible themes for an exhibit of my work at the Ceperley House, the theme of Myth took hold as a means of categorizing a particular tangent of the body of work I have produced in the last ten years.

The scope of interpretations of the word myth gives a clue as to a rupture in our conception of our cultural history.  For some the word will connote the idea of time-worn sustaining truths, usually conveyed in a narrative form.  It’s more popular usage imparts just the opposite: a deception, something essentially untrue.

I grew up in a home where the stories of the Bible were not merely interesting cultural artifacts upon which one might make detached commentary from the enlightened heights of the modern age, rather, these myths were understood to be the very substance of living ideas and language through which one might apprehend our own time and culture within created order.

Such has been my own bifurcated experience.  On Sundays I learned a language of images and stories that both haunt and enrich my imagination to this day.  The other six days I learned a different language of images and stories that both haunt and enrich my imagination to this day. If there has been any dialogue at all between these two polarities, it is perhaps the inevitable siphoning off of the church’s former cultural potency as fuel for the furnaces of a post-modern ethos. The church, having become a poor steward of its own symbols and images, had them nicked, along with a myriad other traditional cultures under siege by the globalizing spirit of the age.

So, am I arguing cultural patricide, bemoaning the loss of tradition, faith, language?  Having heard articulate people whose vocation it is to wage these debates, I know that they would rightly deem me a poor recruit to the cause.  More to the point, my own allegiances run across the grain of this dialectic, governed instead by the necessities of my sculptural practice.

It seems to me that my sculptures, before they are anything else, are manifestations of  fitful waking dreams;  narratives  whole and smashed,  images, ideas, all distilled through the passage of time and the particular resistance of matter.

Myth Begotten Monument