Totemic – A term used to describe a grouping of sculptures with a decidedly vertical movement

I have been thinking about this word an awful lot lately in relation to my work. Recently I have decided to work on a much larger scale and have been drawn to the idea of a totem and the vertical volume that they create in space. Combining this idea with that of an ‘altar,’ I have begun an entirely new series of work based upon a subversive, slightly narcissistic, idea of merging secular and sacred. The goal of each piece in this series is to offer a place of worship and offering to an unspecific higher power for those that wish to pay an homage to the unknown.

The first piece in this series (shown in the featured image) came to me based off of my past work in wood and animal parts and elements. I wanted the beginning piece to feel very attached to the Earth and nature itself. I’ve purposely made this sculpture to look as though it had been decaying in a forest setting for a number of years. The base is specifically rusted, the sphere is broken and suggestive, the bronze bark is scarce and shows obvious signs of age, and the bowl is left raw and rusted to further show age.

The final element of this piece is what should be placed in the bowl as a sort of ‘offering.’ Thus far I have found many objects that, when placed within, change the entire meaning of the piece; fresh hydrangeas make it read as a memorial, deer antlers make it read as a sacrificial altar. Some other thoughts that have been thrown around include snow as an ethereal element. It starts frozen, fills the bowl with water, and then eventually evaporates and ultimately rusts the bowl and contributes to the decay of the piece overall. The more I contemplate it the more I find myself thinking and realizing that as a place of offering, it might possibly be better left empty. This would allow for the viewer or the user to draw their own conclusions and pay their own personal homages to whatever it is thats on the mind at that given moment.

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