Two Sculptures on a theme of Life and Death

This is a piece by Judy which I have posted on her behalf

I am struck immediately by the similarity of the sculptured figures to the story in today’s news, of a funeral for a bridegroom, killed on his honeymoon when he strayed into unfamiliar waters. The bride tells of her sorrow, making the national news, the report dramatising the pathos through its focus on the tears in her eyes and the tremor in her voice; too ugly, too public, the journalist too hungry for the story. The sculptured figures are frozen in their moment of sorrow each silently telling its own story of this too early death, one through its lifeless misshapen form, the other through the strength of its stance which supports the body of his bride, while his head bows in unspoken grief.

The opposite form in this room is an abstract shape of sinuous geometry. It is reminiscent of a torso, an abdomen, a head with limbs thrusting upwards as if demonstrating the life force hidden within the form. The growth comes from a stable base, with sphere balanced on sphere, with tendrils entwining the form, arms uplifted in prayer or praise, a twisted growth, granular, earth coloured, dull rust, slate blue, orange stained, echoing the colours of the floor of the room where both sculptures stand in opposition. One speaks of life and regeneration the other of death and extinguished hope.

Mustard Seed Sculpture

This sculpture, eye shaped and tipped on its end. Its outer edges coarse and corrugated… Do the shapes contained within the eye make a figure? A crucified figure, arms reach up in supplication. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34). The aching cry of humanity in the face of pain and suffering.

The figure’s arms make a heart shape, tipped upside-down. Does this represent love, perhaps? If so, who’s love? God’s? “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son”, etc, etc (John 3:16). Is it Jesus’ love; Jesus, holding his love for us in his arms as he is slowly dying of blood loss and suffocation? But can the word ‘love’ even be used in such a context? How can being slowly tortured to death ever be considered an act of love?

Or perhaps I’m seeing shapes where there aren’t any, and I am simply over- interpreting, reading too much into things. There’s a word for it, I think. Pareidolia. The phenomena of the subconscious mind seeing images in everyday objects: the face of Jesus in a tree bark; the haunting visage of the Virgin Mary in a frosted windowpane; the smug countenance of Simon Cowell viewed in a heavily used handkerchief.  Am I misinterpreting everything I see? My lack of critical faculties when it comes to art is mildly shameful. What do I Know?


An eye

On its end

Stares oddly.

It houses

A grisly Golgotha

On its front and reverse.

Like salvic coinage

It pays for our sin.

Evan Parker Review in Stroud News and Journal

There are sounds a man can make blowing over a reed that bring down the walls.  What Evan Parker does with his breath and dance of his fingers on the keys of the alto saxophone  amaze, astonish and literally blow one away.
Thoughts vanish – impossible to compete with such vastness of expression.

He frees us from the prison of our minds.  As Evan said quietly between the first astonishing  riff and the next at SVA last Saturday night.  ‘I have been playing so long, improvising to free myself and now I wonder if I am not creating another prison’.  For us the listeners the opposite felt to be the truth.
His humble genius freed us, transported us on a voyage of discovery that had no destination, offered no solace, quite simply released us from ourselves.

I am not a musician. I do not understand music but then the beauty of music is that one does not have to understand, merely listen.  I had no idea what to
expect, not having heard Evan Parker before, but with the first notes I was
jolted, jangled, shaken free, then I felt a physical jolt in my mind and I lost

The next morning, I wrote.  I died last night.  It was a beautiful experience
and today it is raining. I died last night inhabited by a sound that annulled
all the brain cells clamouring  attention leaving a perfect void to receive and
let go into.  All the bird song ever woken and the distant hoots of trains,
waves on the shore, snow silent as an empty page, love’s ache, bars of the cage  – all vanished, for a man with a saxophone explored and discovered the timeless- ness of breath passing over a reed aided by the thoughtlessness of fingers.

Evan Parker

This is the man

It is a long time since I have experienced the essence of art – ‘the expression of the inexpressible.’  I did last Saturday experiencing the music of Evan Parker.

Rightly he has been described as ‘one of music’s greatest living
instrumentalists’. (The Times)

A Broken Image in 360°

From behind, the metallic void seems all pervasive, yet as the angular gap narrows a stark two dimensional profile emerges.

90° along, the immense head-dress towering above the downcast face allows the queen-like figure to shine in all its arrogant glory, patronising everything in view of its half-formed features.

Only a few degrees further the face softens and sorrow fills its eye as it glances into an empty space, completely overwhelmed by the heavy burden framing its existence.

270° from its absent beginning the face has grown whole, revealing its androgynous beauty. Even the angles of its head-dress seem more symmetrical and harmonious, disguising the void that lurks only 90° away.

-written at Bob’s house on 30.08.2011, based on a sculpture he did inspired by the war in Sarajevo.

Bob’s post

I’ve posted this on behalf of Bob Thornycroft, who wrote it in response to a visit by some of the group.

When the Writers Group visit to look at my sculpture, seeking inspiration to write, I am moved to write also.

For a moment I feel a wave of embarrassment as though I am naked before you as you look at these objects. As the emotion matures, and heats, burning away the petty hubris, the pure recollection occurs.
The shelling of Sarajevo by the Serbs took place over weeks and was reported in graphic detail on television. The wooded hills with houses and farms tucked here and there with the town in the valley: it could have been the Five Valleys and Stroud, it could have been here. People that had lived side by side in relative harmony were at loggerheads. The town was bombarded and on a certain day the Market-place was shelled, killing women and children. It was a massacre.

I wept and shouted; had I been there I would have taken up arms. Instead I madly welded steel and cut and hit and cried and shouted, the lake of my own grief swelled over into flood and bore down on all things, becoming an ocean.
“Fortunes of war” describes that love which remains when all that was known lies in ruins.

I have experienced devastating personal loss and I have learned that it is something that I never “get over”. At best I learn to manage the thoughts and feelings that arise, and will always arise; and it is sometimes possible for this intensity of feeling to elevate the perception beyond the personal, when I begin to feel the deeper love that Nature is.

Bob Thornycroft