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Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day 2011

Earth is Square, Heaven is Round
Wooden cigar box, plastic, leather, found objects, roots, acrylic paint, and beeswax.
4 x 4 ¾ x 5½”
 Today I felt inspired to share a piece I made several years ago that was part of a body of work created for an exhibition.

I started with the concept in Chinese mythology that the earth is square, and that heaven is round. In this piece, the square earth is enclosing the heavens, an inversion of the general perspective that heaven surrounds the world.

The exterior of the box contains a gold and jeweled tortoise, meandering across a painted representation of the swirling matter of the cosmos. The tortoise is an ancient symbol for originator, and a vehicle for supporting the world. I won’t say much more, because I prefer that each viewer create their own meanings.

Throughout history our relationship to nature and the earth has been one of discovery, exploration, and domination. In our effort to understand the natural world, we collect and name plants, insects, rocks, and animals – displaying them in museums and organizing them in cabinets. This is a way to control both the things we fear and those we don’t understand.

Yet even in our attempts to dominate, we still have a connection to the natural world that we value, an ancient link grounded in mystery that has endured despite our increasing technology. This piece is about the unsolved mysteries of natural things, and how we relate to them.

So this weekend in your travels, think about your personal connections to nature and the earth, and the deeper meanings they have for you.  What are the things that strum your heartstrings?