Saturday, December 27, 2008

Bushman Madonna

This is a small piece (10" X 10) with lots of texture inspired by very old pictographs by African Bushmen. It needs a little more colour variation before I am satisfied that it is done. I haven't altered the image of the woman, I think she looks strong and lovely though to western eyes her body is exaggerated. She wasn't pictured with a baby so I added the seated infant and some hints of a spirit life with the gold spots and swoosh. Not sure how this one will be received.... but she definitely IS a Black Madonna.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dutch Madonna

This Madonna is almost done, maybe a little tweaking with the colours.

My inspiration was the statue which Mom and Dad had in the dining room. It was a replacement for one they brought from Holland which fell off its little wooden shrine and broke. This one too is from Holland and the shape and symbols are quite traditional in Dutch depictions of Mary (apart from the black).

I suspect there may not be traditional madonna figures in the upcoming show so perhaps this one will pay homage to history.
My next one will be a Bushman Madonna, African.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Black Madonna

possibly the Black Madonna of Chestochova, 6th century
Last week I met fellow artist Tim Soper at the Sandra Whitton Gallery. Tim is planning a group show exploring one of his long time interests, the Black Madonna. Here's the Slate description of his upcoming show:
Black Madonnas – a group show curated by Tim Soper. Dark statues
and paintings of a mother and child exist in hundreds all over Europe, and
especially in France. They are revered as the image of Mary and the baby Jesus.
However, their origin may go back to pre-Christian pagan times. They share a
kinship with with ancient statues of Isis and Horus, and Cybele and Attis. These
mythical figures tell a tale of a mother and her God / Son who dies and is
reborn. Over the past year, Tim Soper has been creating his own Black Madonna
sculptures. He has invited a collection of artists to create their own pieces
symbolizing their connection to, or perception of, the Black Madonna. From
literal translations, to dynamic and challenging representations, the pieces in
this show capture the evocative and mysterious nature of the Black
I told Tim about a Madonna I had created, a watery blue-green figure as she was inspired by an incident I witnessed by the riverside at Kingston Mills. Some kids had caught a huge salmon, very heavy, and as they dragged it along the shore it spilled what seemed to be hundreds of golden eggs. The kids were thrilled with their big catch, I was sad. Here she is, rather Byzantine, swimming with silver eggs.

I think she will be in Tim's show next month and perhaps I will make another, this time black and more like the Madonnas I remember from church. Or perhaps like the one we had in the house when I was I child.

If you have a Madonna to share Tim would like to hear from you!