Daily Archives: April 13, 2011

Rabbit Creates Lost Childhoods, a Sculpture Series

The Lost Childhood Series

My worktable with Father Time's Lost Childhood in the background. I can have several things happening at once with different drying times and assembly steps.

My current series of sculptural assemblage pieces, Lost Childhoods, is about exploring a concept I find fascinating. We have created icons that we accept as part of our culture and socially we agree (generally) on what they mean. For instance:

Jim Beam

Uncle Sam

The Grim Reaper

Betty Crocker

Mother Nature

Father Time

King Neptune

Although some icons do have described childhoods and a sturdy base in reality, e.g. Father Christmas/Saint Nicholas, who was a real person whose iconography outstripped reality, I choose not to focus on these types. This list is just a few examples, I keep adding to my list as I run into another piece of the puzzle.  The commonality of all of these is they are adults, and although we have personified them, we give them only their adult attributes. We don’t stop to think about what Betty Crocker was like as a kid.

Mother Nature's face, the head is painted with a paint that resembles earth, her earrings are birds and her hair is nest of Robin's eggs.

This facet of the concept tickles my absurdist side; I like to think that something darkly humorous is an underpinning of these pieces.  Using repurposed doll heads walks the line between absurd and creepy, a place that we don’t like to think about. As someone who loathes clowns and mimes, I think I may have traveled into a facet of that territory and I am interested in exploring it more. I think these pieces are multi-faceted and along with being curiously humorous they are somewhat sad.

Full View of Mother Nature's Lost Childhood. I love this piece so much

We spend a lot of time in our Western world re-examining our childhoods to see how they inform the adults we become, and trying to repair our own scars from that time of our lives.  These pieces skewer the child in the icon and hold it still like a butterfly on a mounting board for us to look at closely, they are meant to be opened and marveled over. They all have drawers and doors and hidden compartments. Each surface is addressed and everything on the piece has a hidden meaning for viewers to discover and decipher.

The Natural World drawer. Each drawer has a bottle with an amazing quote in it and objects that explain the drawer's meaning.The A-Z drawer actually has two little bottles of seeds that could be planted, Alyssum is A and Zinnia is Z, plus a copper pea pod with howlite peas.

Ultimately, their childhoods are a mystery much like our own.  Doors we can’t open, doors we can, things we understand and things we don’t.  I wonder why we came up with the idea of these not-human humans to express a concept.  This part doesn’t matter to me, the artist; I’m involved in the re-imagining and creation of Lost Childhoods. My goal is show them as a group when I’m finished and I am enjoying their appearance in my life one by one.

The little purse created from an old tin with a lid has a poem on metal tags inside, it hangs on one shoulder.

PS: Venus isn’t on the list because she showed up full grown. Neptune is because he has come to personify the sea in general although he’s a Greco-Roman god in particular.

The other side of the studio worktable with parts of Mother Nature in the assembly stage. Anubis/Grim Reaper is underway now and so is King Neptune.