A Continuing Discussion about the Seeds and Pods
of Sculptor TJ Mabrey
READING ART is simple, it’s free, and is meant to enlighten and entertain those who sign up to receive a once a month photo of one of my sculptures, accompanied by a text. This text is not to explain, define, nor defend the art, yet will have some relevance to it.
Reading art is like 'reading' the weather. You have to observe it for a long time, and over a long period of time, until you can predict its flavor, its attitude, its inevitability to stun, to surprise, to anger, to bring pleasure.
What I hope to achieve is for the viewer to "look", to “see”, to "read" the art in a new or meaningful way.
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This healthy, sweet, product of nature belies another story of its production and delivery to the United States. Bananas in their current form were consciously created out of greed by those who controlled the land on which bananas were grown, to those who grew the fruit, and the countries whose officials were bribed into relinquishing control of their country.
In Washington D.C. there is a set of grand steps rising up from the waters of the Potomac River to the Lincoln Memorial. They were designed in 1902 and built in 1930. The steps were originally intended for ceremonious arrivals of dignitaries and heads of States coming to the Capitol by boat or barge, to ascend from the river to the land above, to a new democracy.
Dating back to at least the 1st Century AD, practitioners of Daoist mysticism have endeavored to create landscape scenes in miniature. People see it as a means to focus on and increase the properties we might experience at full-size sights.
While related to bonsai, penjing are noticeably different. They are often more natural or “wild” looking, and they often depict landscapes rather than single trees.
The title,” Ishmael”, was suggested by Texas poet and teacher at the University of California at Berkeley, John Campion. The name “Ishmael” was chosen for it reflected my interest in nature and concern for the environment.
The sculpture is a very long fish, perhaps a whale, with a male figure clinging to its back. Is the figure climbing on, hanging on, falling off or letting go? Who will be the victor?
The War in Iraq was a dark thing. Yet there it was, happening in the fertile crescent of ancient Mesopotamia. In what was The Garden of Eden, where life began between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, the cities, the towns, the villages, were rendered dark by bombs and bullets; as black as the dirt hurriedly thrown over the bodies of the dead.
Rice and Wheat (both are considered grasses) are the two most important staple foods in the world. Rice feeds more than 3.5 billion people of the world's 8 billion population. About 95 percent of the global output of rice is produced and consumed in developing countries. Many of these countries are in violent political conflict and also in areas of extreme climate change lessening their ability to grow crops. Hunger and malnutrition are prevalent and the paradigm worsens with the reduced staples to feed the planet.
A particular moment, as in 'At no point in time had they decided to leave the country', or 'The exact point in time when he died has not been determined.' Critics say this usage is wordy, since in most cases either point or time, along a continuum will suffice.
"Says Chicken Little:
The Sky is Falling
The Sky is Falling
and a piece of it
just hit me on the head."
Above excerpt from "Squaring the Circle" by poet, John Campion
This sculpture is titled OGO'S BASKET. The inscription circling it reads, "Squaring the Circle, Ogotemmeli's Plaited Basket Unwinds." Like a fortune teller, the person looking at the way the contents have fallen, might possibly conjure up a future, or explain the present.
"...nothing is fixed, forever and forever and forever
...the sea does not cease to grind down rock."
- James Baldwin
In the near beginning of time, after things settled down on Earth, our planet was completely covered in water. Then volcanic lava and ash exploded from the center of the earth, creating land. After billions of years, life appeared.
The story behind TJ Mabrey’s sculpture THREE SISTERS is complicated as it relates to agriculture.
The human story is complicated. The history of agriculture is equally complex. Once our ancestors organized agriculture; they wanted to feed the world. With advances in science, chemical fertilizers became possible. Industrialization moved "forward."
Three pods loosely perched upon a pedestal, as in a Shell Game, with engravings of I's and 0's ordered in a particular configuration.A Mathematical Revelation?
A mathematician might examine the sequence as a number in the binary number system, (base 2), where there are only two numbers 0 and 1. To convert the entire sequence of 1's and 0's to a decimal number, the one we humans commonly use, you start from the far right. Each placeholder represents 2 raised to the power of the placeholder's position.
bound and gagged
[ bound n gagd ]
WHAT DOES BOUND AND GAGGED MEAN?
Bound is a word we immediately recognize to describe things that are tied up, like the pages of a book, or being linked to other things or people by common values, such as 'we are bound together.' But it is also referred to in police reports to indicate a person that has been restrained...
DOES WINTER LEMON MEET THE ACID TEST?
If you've ever bitten into a lemon, or that slice of a lemon stuck on the side of your ice tea glass, you've experienced citric acid - a naturally occurring, weak acid, found in citrus fruit. Citric acid is used in a variety of products from household cleaners to disinfectants. It is used in personal care products, yet it can safely remove toxins from polluted soil and yes, even clean up nuclear waste.
"We got along without seeds until about 350 million years ago when evolution finally produced one. Now, with few exceptions, we can’t get along without them.
During the decade I have been creating sculptural seeds and pods in marble and bronze, the impetus behind them has changed, but the fascination endures."