Saturday, November 21, 2009

"Weavers" at Wesley Theological, 2009

What might we see, how might we act, if we saw with a webbed vision?"

Catherine Keller, "From a Broken Web"

"What is the new mythology to be, the mythology
of this unified earth as of one harmonious being?"

Joseph Campbell

"Weaver's" is installed in the staircase entryway at Wesley. As I worked, the "story" of this progression of hands became clearer to me. It is dedicated to the ongoing collaboration of the community of the Luce Center - for me, it is also a new “telling” of the Spider Woman, the weaver deity found throughout Native American mythology.

"It’s said that all stories
originate in the mind
of Spider Woman."

The "Hand and Eye" is the hand of the Divine, from which all inspirations come. Because it's also about the evolution of the arts center at Wesley, the first pair of hands belong to Cathy Kapikian, who retired this year after founding the program more than 25 years ago.

"The Seed Planter" seemed a fitting progression because all inceptions need visionary collaborators, people who find the means to "ground it into the soil."  Tiles are based on stories told me by those who volunteered their hands. Mr.Tortorici told me that his family came from a village famous for growing olives, and so I made an olive branch. Ms. Oden, who is the Dean, told me she missed the wild storms of her Great Plains homeland, and so I inscribed a storm on her panel.

Dr. Hopkins is an archaeologist who has spent years in the holy lands, so his panel has pottery shards. Mr. Soulen is a banjo player and a bee keeper, which is why I put a flower on the neck of his instrument. The harmonies of music, and honey, sweeten the mix.

Doug Purnell is a painter, providing the hands of the artist. Olaf, who is from Iceland (thus, the "Cod Shield") makes her art from fabric. And Amy Gray brought the Gardener's graceful hands, offering the "flowering" of an idea.

Finally, I included the hands of Colleen Nelson, who has been a community activist all of her life.

Next to last, those of Deborah Sokolove, the new Director of the Luce Center. Deborah says of her Iconic artwork that they are "prayers made visible", and so I titled her panel (she made her own tiles) the "Iconographer".

I grew up with a Native American painting, that belonged to my father, of horses running across a desert. One of the horses was turquoise blue. When I assembled my panels, I found I had an "extra hand" from the cast of a child. I remembered that painting, and how the artist used the blue horse to show the presence of Spirit. So the last panel is for those who are not yet born.
"The new myth coming into being through the triple influence of quantum physics, depth psychology and the ecological movement suggests that we are participants in a great cosmic web of life, each one of us indissolubly connected with all others through that invisible field. It is the most insidious of illusions to think that we can achieve a position of dominance in relation to nature, life or each other. In our essence, we are one."

Anne BaringTo view my:   BIO