Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Gourds: Momma's Boy

Momma's Boy, 2011, Hardshell gourd, gourd seed, loofah, string, dyes, inks, copper banding

My BFA work in Metals centered around the combination of metal and gourds. I knew, because I have this weird fascination and obsession with gourds, that I wanted to combine gourds with the materials I was concentrating on in my degree program but I really expected to marry gourds and clay, not the metal.
     However, I found a conduit for my strong emotional response and reaction to my family situation at the time using the metal work to trap and encase the gourds I was drawn to. It was then that the gourds became the metaphor for the person, in particular, they often became the son. The metal became the mother figure. I explored the exploitation and power abuse of a parent to child in order to gain advantage in a divorce and custody situation. They addressed the parental alienation issues surrounding my husband's divorce and the effects on his young son.
     Time has passed and circumstances have changed. The power relationship between the mother and son has developed. The gourds still reference the human but now the mother/son elements are separating and have gained their own identities. A power struggle has developed as the child has matured into young adulthood. These new pieces address the elements in this. Metal still makes an appearance in these pieces but I am using it as support instead of a major element. I'm interested in exploring the gourd itself as a sculptural medium. More mixed media is being used, particularly natural elements. I've tried to make more use of gourd parts as sculptural elements when possible. The piece above, Momma's Boy, touches on the tangled, baggage-laden relationship of mother to son and the long-term issues that follow. The inside bowl of the main piece is covered with gourd seeds with the words: self, boy, man, mom, own, control and ... written on individual seeds. The "umbilical cord" penetrating the form and tangled inside is repurposed from the loofah gourds grown on my farm. This is one of four new pieces.

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