“He not busy being born is busy dying”
Why are we driven to shape, to actualize, to form, bring into existence, forge, and give birth to? I think we, as humans, are hardwired to create. We love participating in the creative flow of the universe, perhaps becoming addicted to the timelessness and joy of the creative state. It is a voyage of discovery. Creativity versus Destruction. We search for understanding and meaning, leaving behind the traces of our endeavour like signposts on our journey through time. Sometimes they are storm warnings.
It calls to mind the role of the artist in times like these. Can the true artist remain insensitive to the callousness and cruelty of these times? I prefer to think not. We are subjected to our dose of daily dread so often that we have become numb. We live in a time where creativity no longer speaks the language of the culture, or rather, the culture is locked into ideas that seem desirable yet remain out of reach for most people and are often at complete odds to the health and well-being of the planet and all the lifeforms who inhabit it. Creativity is often seen as something outside the scope of everyman at best, and at worst irrelevant in this fast paced and driven world. To explore creativity is to explore oneself. We all like to surround ourselves with beautiful things. Beauty strikes within us a silent chord, indefinable, yet potent and rewarding. It is, however, up to the viewer to unlock the power of the work within themselves this in itself being a creative act. I think the artist succeeds when others find resonance, be it joy, sorrow etc. in the work left behind. We seek affirmation and acceptance, a sense of belonging.
These sculptures are the ashes of that creative fire, a fragment of a song so to speak, that stirs deep within us. These masks are my renditions of “the Others” both real and imagined seen through the lens of my experience. They stand as mute testimony of a brighter time
and place whether distant past or future, whether real or imagined . Masks are I think, by nature autobiographical. That is, they all speak to a part of the psyche. In my youth I was always very interested in other cultures, farther horizons. This resulted in a broader acceptance of other cultures than the pervasive and stifling Judeo/Christian ethos of the times allowed. These other voices are calling to us all from the edges of our consciousness, storm warnings if you will, offering up new vistas of understanding if we are open and receptive to them. The animals too have their voices which I imagine these days to be some sort of SOS call, so many of them being threatened with extinction. In a sense these sculptures are saying “we too have a voice, we have a right to be here.”
Advancing years yield new perspectives. I am not old, and yet, I am no longer young. I harken back to themes that carried me through all those years ago. Each time I revisit them, like an old friend, I discover more about them. If I have remained vigilant, they will show me new insights and lead me back to a magical land I have yet to discover.
Jeff Lounsbury October 2019