"Reliquaries for our Sacred Feminine" Series - Solo Show
Wyoming State Museum; Cheyenne - 24 February - 11 April, 1994



"Everything is gestation and birthing. To let each impression and each embryo of a feeling come to completion, entirely in itself, in the dark, in the unsayable, the unconscious, beyond the reach of one's own understanding, and with deep humility and patience to wait for the hour when a new clarity is born: this alone is what it means to live as an artist: in understanding as in creating."

                    From Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

    "Reliquaries for our Sacred Feminine" is the result of my attempt to embody Rilke's words through my work. I began a large project, having no clear image of its final appearance. I had faith that answers would come when needed, and confidence that I would make good decisions along the way. Initially, I saw this show in a vague dream where I walked into a gallery space where the image of a piece I was working on at the time was repeated in several different media. I awoke and wrote a note to myself, but could not recall details. How many were there? Out of what materials? What does it mean? Shortly after this, I began working on several pieces at a time, experimenting with new materials.
    Previously, I had been working on themes where I depicted human figures as hollow, empty spaces. I wanted to continue exploring and expanding on this idea. also, I had been appreciating the beauty in nature and wanted to incorporate the unpretentious gesture of natural chaos in my work. I began building with broken clay, then wood; the possibilities multiplied: casting flaws, softened glass, broken rocks.

    The human figure has been important in art from the earliest cave painting to the present, primarily because of its ability to arouse empathy. I've tried to enhance this by making these sculptures life size and choosing carefully how they are bound and assembled.

    Concurrent with this studio work, my reading interests wandered into mythology, where I found that an illustrated history of mythology is a concise history of art. This led me to search for mythology in our current global society. I read Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell, The Technological Society by Jacques Ellul, and The Absence of the Sacred by Jerry Mander. These and other texts showed me that since the Industrial Revolution, we have lost the stability which establishes and maintains a community where mythology evolves in mutual faith. Today our faith is in science, and the space shuttle is perhaps our own equivalent to the Gothic cathedrals and the great pyramids of earlier cultures. the show incorporates mythology and references to earlier cultures in whose ruins we find shattered relics to reassemble. I'd like to emulate the multiple symbolisms in a repaired Grecian urn with angular holes, or a marble goddess without arms.

    Since I was working with the female figure, I began to search for the spiritual feminine in mythological history. Early matriarchal goddess-worshipping cultures provided rich information. From around the world, from different times, a similar model would appear, flourish, and then be wiped out by warring invaders with masculine gods. Once a mass faith has been subverted, any attempt at reconstruction can only be superficial.

    I enjoyed the goddesses' stories and decided to present some of them here, providing another avenue of approach to the work. I also included some information which would show a correlation between the mythology and the materials in each piece. the sculptures are not, however, attempts to illustrate the stories; nor are the texts captions for the work. Rather, my hope is that they work in layers, like the combination of materials in the sculptures, adding a richness and cohesiveness to the installation as a whole.

    Several images kept reappearing during my research, but the most captivating was the feminine relationship to the moon and its cycling. For this reason I made thirteen pieces for the show, since there are thirteen new moons every solar year.

    This journey, leading to the completion of "Reliquaries for our Sacred Feminine", has been the richest period of growth I've ever experienced. Many of these materials and methods were new to me, and Rilke's advice turned out to be magical. There are certainly failures when experimenting, but when there is success, it exceeds what could be imagined.