Thursday, April 13, 2017

Spring Art Show - Hypnos Somnambulate

collage, handcut collage, sculptural collage, floral collage, antique frame

The dark wintry gray days in this cloud-covered valley are nearly over. With the appearance of crocuses, daffodils and muscari in the garden, and cherry, plum and magnolia blossoms bursting forth all over our town, we are in the midst of rejoicing at the end of an unusually cold wet winter.

Not only is it still cold and dark, but the grayness that prevails day after day and month after month here in the Northwest, is taxing on the mind and on the creative spirit. It's as if the haze in the atmosphere becomes a metaphor for fuzzy thinking and mental obscurity. Attempting to stay awake past five p.m. and finding the initiative to accomplish a series of expressive tasks often becomes a major undertaking. The one thing that motivated me over these past several weeks though, was knowing the opportunity to feature a piece of my artwork at The New Zone's 'Zone 4 All Community Showcase' was at hand, and I had better get busy.

Sculptural art forms are fascinating, especially when experienced first hand. I still fondly remember the first time I experienced this kind of work by a famous master - the graceful ballet dancers of Edgar Degas, at a retrospective of his work at the Art Institute of Chicago. And more recently, here in Eugene, the University of Oregon's Museum of Art exhibited a male nude sculpture by Auguste Rodin that must have been about 10 feet tall!

Besides viewing sculpture in person, I also enjoy taking a tour through vintage art history books, looking for images to use in collage. The image I cut from the book in the upper left hand corner in the above picture, 'The Art of Classical Greece', is a bronze head of Hypnos, the god of sleep. Being a bird lover, the fact that there are wings on at least one side of his head intrigued me. 

Although Hypnos is a classical Greek god, this particular sculptural piece is a Roman copy, found at Civitella d'Arna in Italy, dating to about the fourth century BC. Apparently, three dimensional representations of Hypnos are unusual. Hypnos is often portrayed with poppies and sleep inducing herbs, so I decided it was appropriate to reunite Hynos with a bouquet of poppies. According to Google Arts & Culture, "Hypnos' wings allowed him to move swiftly over land and sea, and to fan the foreheads of the weary until they fell asleep."

The antique swiveling frame is itself a work of art. The glass was missing when I purchased it at the charity shop, but it was easily replaced by a local frame store, Vistra Framing & Gallery, for a minimal cost. The frame appears to be handmade from wood that has been painted brown with gold highlights added. It is a bit warped, but it does stand upright without wobbling. We'll just say it's skewed condition adds a certain vintage charm to the work!

Once the weather warms up, I plan on painting our living room (white, of course!) and will display my collage on the piano there, along with some vintage hardback books, and a few Japanese ceramic figurines. Now, if it would just stop raining!


1 comment

  1. So interesting reading about your inspiration for this piece. I hope the exhibition was a success.


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