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Artist's Statement
 
 
Excerpt from Feminist Foremothers
 
 
in Women's Studies, Psychology, Mental Health (1995)
 
 
Chesler, Rothblum, Cole, editors.
 
 
Published by The Haworth Press

 

My Sculpture is made of wood carved from trees. The carved wood is found on the streets of New York City, the beaches of the Dominican Republic, the shores of Northern Minnesota, and other places. It is often assembled, several pieces put together to make the whole. It is painted, colored, often with handmade paint and gold leaf which dresses and clothes the wood, so to speak, so that the actual forms begin to develop the presence of being and of garments.

     
  Some of the wood that comes from the streets of New York is battered and unattractive, but when I begin to carve into it, the wood's raw beauty is revealed. Using raw materials from different places allows the trees to offer different meanings to my work. Tree and human have a long connection to each other. They (the trees) have been traditionally used as a metaphor for the human self, frequently for women. When I carve the tree I engage with the history of the life within it. I listen to it, so that it participates with me in the experience of becoming a sculpture. I am carving an object that was once animate and has that presence embodied within. When I carve into it, I release the quality. I speak with it. The carving resuscitates the life that's been held in stasis The tree becoming sculpture represents a way for me to parallel and illustrate our history as human and our voice as women. It echoes a memory of what went before and as I carve it, it changes into a newer, stronger, more timely, more relevant presence. In this way, my art is about discovering and reclaiming both the spirit of the tree and my own spirit.  
     
  There is a similar kind of silence that is found in sculpture as there is in a garden. The silence which is in The Spirit House of the Mother takes you the viewer to an inner place of vastness and quiet, where I want you to become both an echo of yourself, the presence of the echo and the silence around the echo. I want to have the The Spirit House of the Mother speak to you about the darkness, to bring light to it, to mix understanding, and dialogue, yours, mine. I hope to bring spirit to you, and because of this, to have you open and envision your heart in the experience of it.  
     
 
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All images ©Nancy Azara 2011