I wanted to create a sculpture that showed a woman throwing away her cares…heaving weighty demands and expectations into the ethos disintegrating them once and for all. Hallelujah! But, there was one small problem. She hadn’t looked at those cares or identified them or transformed them into discardable pieces. The sculpture was missing the first step.
I decided that I first had to make a piece expressing the anguish of this figure digging up her societal roots and beliefs that had been passed down to her from family, community, media and religion. This was not going to be gentle; it had to be compressed and stretched, exaggerated and, in ways, grotesque, or at least the feeling had to be. You had to feel her yearning to free herself from these constraints that squelched her spirit. I wanted everyone to relate to her struggle from their own experiences. Recognizing the familiar feeling of conflict, one client said, “I see that she’s going to law school, too!”
I hired a model for a few hours. I asked her to stretch her hand like she was about to claw into the earth. She was too dainty…she wasn’t able to grit her teeth and extend her hand in the way that I needed. I ended up using my own hand as a model. The figure is like a root: gnarled, earthy and grounded.
After I finished the piece, I didn’t feel drawn to make the original one where she threw away her cares. I was satisfied expressing the process of self-reflection. This sculpture is about the courage to unearth and discover, to examine and release. It applies to any journey upon which we embark with the hope of opening space and accessing our unique, true selves. It is about facing the dark tunnel that we have to pass through before getting to the place where we shine.
No words could express the essence of this piece, so it remains Untitled.