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Prodigal

My friend Jane Case Vickers and I have both been working on art for a local exhibit. The theme is the Prodigal story in the Gospel of Luke. We’ve been discussing her artist’s statement to accompany her art and she was curious what my artist’s statement said. Here it is:

I took as my inspiration the two brothers, their struggles, their interplay, and their shortcomings. In the parable, neither brother plays the role of the exemplary son. One leaves his father, squanders his inheritance, associates with prostitutes and then pigs. When he returns home, the other son angrily and bitterly refuses to join his father in the celebration that his brother has been found and his place in the family restored.

In my sculpture, the two brothers appear as two golden figures suspended in the mechanics of the piece. One hangs from the upper section. This section is actually the rotor of a whirligig, and you can activate it by blowing on it. When the whirligig spins, it carries this figure in endless, unproductive circles. Through a series of wires and strings, the second figure is also connected to the spinning whirligig. In this way, as one brother spins around and around the second brother is jerked back and forth, suspended just above the ground.

The piece is a metaphor for the very human and very familiar actions and reactions within this parable. It illustrates the ways that we, as human beings, fall short and the way that these shortcomings impact our relationships with each other and with God.

Separately, I enjoy making art that celebrates found objects in all their beauty, and I particularly enjoy the way the found materials in this piece resonate with the parable of the Prodigal/Two Brothers and its place among several parables illustrating God’s rejoicing that the lost is found.

Found objects in this piece include: rusty bed springs, a coat hanger, pop/beer cans, twist ties, shower curtain rings, Mardi Gras babies, old beads, old jewelry, gold leaf, cardboard, sewing machine bobbins, a beater I found in the street, half an ornament I found in the street, a ballerina cake decoration, an old needle case, odds and ends off some Christmas crackers, fabric leftover from another project, a star from a stuffed animal, a Barbie leg, and wire.