Refueling the Tanks (an adventure in relief)

Every now and again an artist needs to refuel the tanks. One can take time to reflect and let the mind wander. Or, one can also stimulate ideas by visiting museums and galleries and in my case, caves.

Recently I took a trip to the south of France to visit pre-historic cave art. My desire to bring authenticity and primal feeling to my work is rooted in being attracted to the beauty in raw materials. There, underground in a cave, listening to stalactites dripping while witnessing art that was made over 14,000 years ago, that primal feeling was palpable for me. While one can only speculate why the art was made (was it for story, spiritual, ritual, or something we don't have the ability to understand?), I was in authentic 'refueling the tanks' heaven.

Of particular interest for me were the animals carved as relief on the walls of the cave, sometimes using the natural form of the cave to create the animal (a natural relief). We could not take images inside the caves, but here, an image from a book, just to give you an idea. 

 from Cap-Blanc

from Cap-Blanc

Now, I couldn't go all the way over to France without a stop at the Louvre and of course, the newly opened Rodin Museum. Here I refueled on every nuance of sculpture, but today, I will reflect on reliefs in comparison to the caves we experienced. And at the bottom, just to relate it to the work from Nancy Winship Milliken Studio, some past and recent relief work.

 First, at the Louvre

First, at the Louvre

 And then Rodin

And then Rodin

 Rodin sketching

Rodin sketching

 From the studio, here is a sunken relief made this summer from Vermont soil

From the studio, here is a sunken relief made this summer from Vermont soil

 and a performance high relief made in 2010

and a performance high relief made in 2010

I am excited to see where the refueling will take the work, but for now, I am immersed in dark cave dreams.