furies & graces
“The Fates and Furies, as well as the Graces and Sirens, glide with linked hands over life.” –Jean Paul
Furies & Graces is an exploration of feminine energy using the framework of mythology, folktales, and iconic symbolism. From a feminist perspective I am interested in investigating archetypes and capturing moments that both glorify and confront the female experience. The Furies were three goddess sisters of vengeance, responsible for punishment. Graces were three goddesses of charm, joy and beauty—Muses to the arts. Connecting the duality of femininity portrayed in these ancient myths to the modern woman inspired these images, and their depictions of both power and subjugation, the potency and perils of sexuality, and the trappings of beauty and expectations.
Furies & Graces features a collaborative work with OKC artist, Hugh Meade. Together we explored the Triple Goddess, a significant theme in the art and literature of many cultures. This exploration of the three phases of a woman’s life are represented as the innocent but angst ridden Maiden, the lush, fertile and scarred Mother, and the powerful, wise and magical Crone. I wanted the self-portrait for the Mother figure to be personal and revealing. This image is not just about traditional motherhood, but also my role as artist and creator. This time of life is perhaps the most expectation laden, and intense, requiring a complicated balance, which can be painful, fruitful and life affirming all at once. The womb-like vessels, of GloryBoxes echo the womb of a mother, revealing the beauty of scars and transformation.
The inclusion of poppies, jellyfish, pomegranates, nests and animals as symbolic touchstones for feminine power, including fertility, sexuality, beauty and wrath. Poppies are one of the most iconic flowers of both ancient and modern times. A universal symbol for Memorial Day and fallen soldiers, it calls to mind death and reverent memory. But this lush and sensual bloom also denotes blood, danger, opiates and sleep, as masterfully used in the children’s novel, the Wizard of Oz. The jellyfish is a hypnotic and feminine creature—dependent upon tides and floating for survival, but ready to sting with poisonous tentacles. The pomegranates are an ancient fruit used to symbolize, blood, menses, life and death. By layering these symbols with figurative images, I wanted to create dream landscapes and passionate tributes to feminine energy.
The women in these images reject simple definition and embrace the complexity of their sex. Images depict isolation, rage, humor, hysteria, sensuality and wisdom. By linking arms with their multi-faceted nature these modern Furies & Graces make fun of conventions they both embrace and reject. At the heart of this work is my own personal view as a woman, wife, mother, artist and individual, my reflections on societal experiences and limitations, and my journey towards knowledge of self.