"Ship of State" is a famous and oft-cited metaphor put forth by Plato in Book VI of Plato's Republic. It likens the governance of a democracy to the command of a naval vessel. However, according to Plato, the leadership of such a government should only be undertaken by the enlightened and benevolent.
Unfortunately history is often writ by leaders who have engaged in a reign of terror or have meandered aimlessly into a reign of error.
In lieu of a cartoonist's skill, this piece is my contribution to a bit of whimsical political satire. Our ship of state is crewed by birds of various feather, none of whom seem to be addressing one another directly. Sleeping at the oar appears to go un-noted and is perhaps even permissible. Although copious amounts of "hot air" are generally available, there is hardly enough to stimulate the motionless propeller to force movement forward...or even backward. There is obviously no visionary coxswain to guide the ship to a pre-established destination or to keep all aboard rowing in the same direction.
Reigning ravens may keep the ship afloat, but haven't a clue as to where they're going or what they might do if they actually arrive in that far off land called the future.
23" h x 12."l x 13"w
Cast in bronze and finished in a complex transparent patina.
Artist's Proofs: 4 Edition: 35
This is a unique casting and features two hummingbirds, one nesting on a branch; mounted on antique wood molding.
"Never Pass Up a Chance to Play"
" 11h x 21"l x 14"w
Cast in bronze and finished in a complex transparent patina. Unique casting
"Marilyn Sunderman Creativity Award",
Sedona Arts Center Member's Exhibition, 2008
"Marilyn Sunderman Creativity Award",
Sedona Arts Center Member's Exhibition, 2009
"Desert Sonata - Twittering Machine"
“Hundreds of people have shared with me their experiences of seeing raven’s behavior. I have tried to keep in mind that anecdotes can easily become interpretations. With other animals you can usually throw out 90 percent of the stories you hear about them as exaggerations. With ravens, it’s the opposite. No matter how strange or amazing the story, chances are pretty good that at least some raven somewhere actually did that.” Bernd Heinrich, “Mind of the Raven”
Ravens have been observed hanging upside down from wires, sliding down snow banks, pulling the tails of wolves and tail feathers of eagles, dropping balls and other objects on unsuspecting human heads, playing tug-of-war, or executing a breathtaking barrel roll in mid air. They love to bathe in snow or water, but nobody watching the bathing performance of young ravens would ever get the impression that the birds were trying to remove dirt. Like kids splashing in a pool, the birds might get clean, but if they do it is strictly incidental.
This piece is a flight through the fields of fantasy. Combining found objects with miniature sculptures of some of the critters who inhabit the high desert surrounding Sedona, I have endeavored to capture the lighthearted sounds of springtime.
It is also a humorous parody on a famous work by the German painter, Paul Klee. Somewhere between nature and the mechanical, between the comic and the tragic, Klee's birds "twitter" with a music that expresses how frail and vulnerable existence is, especially in the post-WWI modern world.
Desert Sonata is comedy unburdened by tragedy. It simply invites participation in the music of nature.
Dimensions: 10"w x 31"h
Antique engraved trumpet, bronze birds, frogs and crickets
Walnut base on turntable
"Birds in Art" Exhibition, 2010
Woodson Museum of Art, Wausau, Wisconsin
Permanent Collection, Woodson Museum of Art.
The streets of Sedona are thoroughfares for more commuters than automobiles. Although deer, javelina and coyote are encountered, by far the most frequent fellow travelers on our street are Gambrel quail. We humans are often seen stopping our cars to allow a single quail or mixed families of a dozen or more to pass by safely.
Quail are good parents - both male and female care for their chicks and will adopt orphans when necessary.
This sculpture is a metaphor for human parenthood. A first child is, for most of us a shock in that parents rarely realize just how much sacrifice is required for the care of a helpless infant. While quail chicks are fairly independent almost immediately after hatching, a human child changes our lives forever in ways we could never have imagined. Certainly in today's home with two working parents, life does become a balancing act.
Cast in bronze and finished in a traditional patina Dimensions: 13.5"w x 19h"l x 11" l
Edition: 35 Artists Proofs: 4
"Born to Dance "
Three bronze dancing frogs mounted on a hancrafted ironwood box.
"Down Jacket "
Creatures both great and small share this planet with us humans and most go unnoticed as we go about the business of our daily lives. Many of us do, though, notice and enjoy the birds among us and draw them in for a closer look by putting out food and water.
This sculpture was inspired by my observation of a cardinal in winter, fluffed out to the max in order to maintain body heat. He did, indeed, wear a 'down jacket'.
Cast in bronze and finished in a transparent patina
Dimensions: 11"w x 11h"l x 7" l
Edition: 35 Artists Proofs: 4
Bases vary according to availability
Ravens are thought to have magical abilities in many cultures throughout the world. They have been called birds of prophesy, messengers to the gods and in the Pacific Northwest, Raven is the creator and bringer of light. Some native tribes refer to ravens as the 'keepers of secrets'. They are linked to the void, where universal secrets are kept. Because ravens are so intelligent, it is easy to see why humans delight in observing and identifying with them.
In shamanic lore, Raven, as a totem bird, enables second sight, shape-shifting and healing. This sculpture touches on all these aspects and also on our fascination with masks and their ability to allow us to play at being other.
Picasso insisted that everything was miraculous - it was miraculous he said, that one did not melt in one's bath.
Dimensions:" 8.5"w x 19"h x 10"l
Cast in bronze and finished in a transparent patina. Unique casting
24"h x 13.5"w AP/4 Edition of 15
In the season of birth and beginning we approach the essential mystery of our children with wonder, dreaming of who they may become within the shape and form on an unknowable future. It is the oldest human story, universal, but never ordinary.
These early years of a new millennium seem especially charged with potential as our focus widens to encompass many future generations and a span of years far beyond the next decade.
I have attempted to capture through this sculpture, a moment when the tangential consciousness of mother and newborn are suspended in time, a moment made potent by possibility. Voids in the form accentuate the head and hands, symbolic of a parent's love and nurturing care.
Cast in bronze and finished in hand-buffed wax patina
"A Meeting of the Minds "
Because Sedona is surrounded by National Forest, encounters and interactions with wild animals is common. Deer, coyote and javelina do not recognize human boundaries and consider unfenced gardens or yards a bountiful source of food free for the taking. Raccoons have been known to enter homes through pet doors to snack on pet food.
This sculpture was inspired by my own encounter with a group of curious javelina who came quite close in their desire to learn what this strange creature might be. This kind of human-animal encounter has occurred through history and now and then results in lasting bonds. The domestication of the wolf/dog is one such illustration of a meeting of unlike minds.
Cast in bronze and finished in a traditional patina Dimensions: 11"w x 17.5h"l x 14" l