Skip to comments.Sculptures evoke laughs, thought
Posted on 06/15/2013 8:32:35 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
The Three Rivers Arts Festival wraps up in a few days, but there's still plenty of time to see and experience much of it, if you haven't yet had the opportunity.
Though most folks bee-line for the food vendors and Artists Market in and around Gateway Center, keep in mind there's plenty to see throughout the Cultural District. And that extends all the way up to the 900 block of Liberty Avenue, where the exhibit Confluence: New Works is on display on the second floor of 937 Liberty Ave.
A sculpture and installation-art exhibit, it features the work of nearly two dozen members of the Society of Sculptors. Established in 1935, the society has been an active arts organization in the Pittsburgh area for 78 years. And as active as the group is, so too are its members. Especially in this exhibit, in which nearly each artist has at least two works on display.
For example, Bloomfield-based sculptor Ashley J. Hickey has two pieces on display, side by side In Our Hands and From the Woods. One is based on the life cycle of a leaf, and the other is presenting a colorful moss sphere in a pair of plaster-cast hands.
I use molds of real hands and place natural objects in them to display a relationship between people and nature, Hickey says. Every person's hand has different character and personality, and depending on the gesture, they can portray a lot of emotion. To counter that feeling, I use a bright white gypsum for the material to present how humans sometimes have a cold relationship with nature, regardless of how beautiful and delicate it really is.
Also working with the human form is Cydra Vaux of Squirrel Hill whose terra-cotta sculptures of a female Pope Joan are sure to be an attention grabber. A self-described feminist and a Unitarian Universalist, Vaux says, I find myself drawn to many different religions and am interested in how they feel about women. When I learned there might have once been a woman pope, I became fascinated and have since made four sculptures of Pope Joan.
Joan was elected pope in 853 and held that office for two years. However, Vaux says, when people found out she was a woman, because she gave birth, they stoned her and her baby boy to death.
With my sculpture Pope Joan Revisioned,' I like to imagine what would have happened if women were allowed to be popes: Joan and her son would live, Vaux says. With my piece Four Pope Joans' (which features four versions of a pregnant Pope Joan standing back to back), I am celebrating women's unique ability to give life.
It wasn't that long ago when women had to quit work when they became pregnant, and today, many cultures see women as unclean during certain times, Vaux says. Pregnancy is also a metaphor for bringing new and creative ideas into the world. In my own work, I often feel like I am pregnant' with ideas and possibilities that grow inside of me until they are born in the form of my terra-cotta sculptures.
Also having a socio-political bent is the work of Scot Calvert of Harmony. His two pieces, Feeder 1: Prestige and Feeder 2: Fleeced, deal with the idea of consumption. Feeder 1 looks like an animal or, more specifically, a sheep, and Feeder 2 is literally an animal feeder filled with fleece and television sets.
Feeder 1: Prestige' relates itself to over-consuming, conspicuous consumption, and status, Calvert says. Feeder 2: Fleeced' deals with human consumption of the mass media via conglomerates, by poking fun at both liberal and conservative news who tend to just feed the people the ideologies of the conglomerate, which in turn the watcher tends to accept.
More lighthearted in nature is Visions in the Night by Chelsey Albert of South Fayette Township. A wall-hung piece featuring three female figures surrounded by moss, Albert says of it, I was inspired by the complexity of love both in its beauty and wonder.
As for including the moss, she says, I enjoy combining organic material both with my figures and in my work. I connect the natural and wild world with the small subtle beautiful moments that we encounter in our everyday lives.
Some of the artists were inspired by other art exhibits, such as Tricia Milford of California, Pa., who found inspiration for the All That Jazz dolls she made for this show from making pincushions earlier in the year for the Fiberart International 2013, on now through Aug. 18 at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and the Society for Contemporary Craft.
I wanted to do something playful and fun, Milford says. These dolls have a very whimsical perspective and are very playful. They each have a distinct personality and story. I think that they probably reflect some aspect of my own personality or are a kind of self-portrait.
What I wanted to express is less about the outward appearance as about how I respond to life and how I feel about what is going on around me. Or, at the very least, how I would like to feel as I wake up to each new day.
Like Milford, Lisa Platt of Highland Park also made works of the humorous type. Two mosaic-tile works Three Fishes and Happy Cat II are simple representations of my love for fish and cats, Platt says. My subject matter goes anywhere from aquatic to people to country to homes to towns and always with an element of nature. I'm very widely diverse in my subject matter.
The remaining works on display are just as compelling for a variety of reasons, making this exhibit a must stop on this last day of the festival.
Also working with the human form is Cydra Vaux of Squirrel Hill whose terra-cotta sculptures of a female Pope Joan are sure to be an attention grabber. A self-described feminist and a Unitarian Universalist, Vaux says, I find myself drawn to many different religions and am interested in how they feel about women. When I learned there might have once been a woman pope, I became fascinated and have since made four sculptures of Pope Joan. Joan was elected pope in 853 and held that office for two years. However, Vaux says, when people found out she was a woman, because she gave birth, they stoned her and her baby boy to death. With my sculpture Pope Joan Revisioned,' I like to imagine what would have happened if women were allowed to be popes: Joan and her son would live, Vaux says. With my piece Four Pope Joans' (which features four versions of a pregnant Pope Joan standing back to back), I am celebrating women's unique ability to give life.
Ignorance is bliss.
I guess they think blasphemy is artistic
Sorry. Unitarian Universalists shouldn’t be classified a ‘church’.
In before another round of was there/was there not a Pope Joan tug-a-war?
What I think may remain not much considered, then possibly discussed other than from one-dimensional or polemical aspect about this "story", is how such things grow legs (rightly or wrongly) then have those same chopped off. Or not.
In this instance, the choppers thinking it only "enemy" propaganda of late invention? But rather in fact, the story was there for quite a while (albeit tenuously) however it arose, apparently believed/semi-believed by the hometeam for quite awhile, too.
What about "stories" repeated so much for so long, they come to be seen as truth but were merely fable all along? And don't get "legs" trimmed? I think I can point to a few of those, but they be more difficult to summarize than the fairly decent (to my eyes) wiki entry for Pope Joan.
We have some local FR legends along too, trying to [ahem] stretch their legs so to speak. Some that have been around for awhile are funny, and pretty much everyone knows it's mainly for laughs. Others, with lot's of view of self, view of their own beliefs and how those are regarded by others --not so funny. We have little wars between libertarian "freedom" conservatives, and those who come across as apologists for State "law & order". Back and forth it goes...
But what does that have to do with "Pope Joan" it may be asked? It's all about belief, baby. It's all about faith itself. Just what should a person put their faith in?
While I contend for my own faith (a guy we refer to in the English language as Jesus, or Jesus Christ being crucified in or near Jerusalem not "faith" for myself...but historical enough for it to be FACT);
Other "religious faiths" have other ideas...
Islam has legs. Look at all those whom believe Mo' (may pork be upon him) was "God's prophet". Conveniently enough for those whom wish for whatever reason to assert that Arab's opinions and musings be "truth", the claim is also made of Mo' that he was God's lastprophet, too.
Mormons even have a "living prophet" or so the claim goes(?) with that in past and possibly still present times fervently believed by many to be "the only" one living at anyone time, or something to that effect.
Rather asserts they be given last say or word, doesn't it? And in those faiths and others, there has long been contention of who should preside over the (cough,cough) revelation. What could that sort of thing tell us of human nature?
What's that some here offended by Pope Joan mentions may be itching to say? Here this thread, this latest from 'our esteemed correspondent' (hehheh) is a prime example of fable? Well...Okey-doke.
But what if fable, additions or distortion of actual truth, rather than being scandalous and hurtful to one's own cause, are instead hurtful or embarrassing to another, and are looked upon as confirmation for one's own pet peeves? What occurs when people begin to widely believe in fable as fact? The ax grinding commences, with various folk looking about seeking to do a bit of chopping with ax? And no, I'm not talking about how Obama and Co., in fear Americans might really get behind some increase of incendiary tool making of their own, thus lead to straightaway (but possibly avoidable, in their mind's) further serious blow-ups, do everything in their power to try and get ahead of ax grinding by folks who look around and see living breathing, crude head-choppers, in their native habitats, gazing skywards at overflying drones. But I'm glad you mentioned it. Please, carry on...
Just because a thing is or can be favorable addition to one view or another, simply believing that a thing be so cannot create truth itself (from a neutral point of view). Well, except for God perhaps? Creating as it were, ex nihilo. What He made, he was able to call "good". Who am I to disagree? I don't. Aah...but made in His image, I have powers of creation myself. Just look at the statues I can make. I can believe in 'em, too. Where does that leave the one true God? Or better asked...did it actually include Him? How could it include Him? It's just a statue.
Here perhaps, the anti-theist throws up a hand, "pick me, pick me, I know the answer!"
Facts do not change. The anti-theist smirks and readily agrees. Perceptions of them can and do. Mileage varies. More smirks...from whomever. Lot's of smirks in this crowd we have here?
Now that I've dangled that, I'm wondering if there be many philosophers 'round 'bout these parts who may be able to read between the lines, who know about local fable (some have begun to fervently believe in both that, along with the righteousness of their "cause") and how those sort of things could be instructive...when stepped back from...wa-aay back, leaving or setting one's own emotion and opinion aside, to hike up onto shall we say a small nearby hill so as better to serenely gaze upon the hubbub? One simply must leave "self" behind lest the dust from the skirmishing cloud one's eyes. Some people start crying for reason of all the dust...?
Not aiming to lecture anyone in particular, (or particularly the OP here -- if leaving my own self out of the instruction) but continuing with this pondering;
Hmmm...where oh, where does that sort of stuff begin (not limited to recent minor, small beer, local incident or condition --- I think I know a great deal about that) and more importantly, where and how will it end? Balkenization has it's inherent drawbacks, possibly strongly affecting all involved. Those involved in that strung-out over many centuries squabbling would likely agree. Still, the instinct for enclave is strong. But is there yet a purpose? find that, and we then better come to know truth, and why we are here. The way of the cross was never promised anyone to be roses, nothing but roses, with no thorn to be found.
At his trial in 1415, Jan Hus argued that the Church does not necessarily need a pope, because, during the pontificate of "Pope Agnes" (as he also called her), it got on quite well. Hus's opponents at this trial insisted that his argument proved no such thing about the independence of the Church, but they did not dispute that there had been a female pope at all.
There were associated legends as well. In the 1290s, the Dominican Robert of Uzès recounted a vision in which he saw the seat "where, it is said, the pope is proved to be a man." Pope Joan has been associated with marvelous happenings. Giacomo Penzio (fl. 1495-1527), in a work falsely attributed to Petrarch (130474), wrote in his Chronica de le Vite de Pontefici et Imperadori Romani that after Pope Joan had been revealed as a woman:
Interesting, Pope Joan is buried in the Vatican. It seems to me that it would be a simple matter to do a DNA test.
Also, other legends have it that the son became a high ranking church leader.
There was never a pope Joan, or any other female pope. By the way, it was often Protestants who led the way in proving this fact in recent centuries.
Who did it in earlier centuries, then? The legend has been around longer than the Reformation.
You wouldn’t be related now would you? ;O)
BTW-Vlad may be also interested in knowing that several websites which promotes women Catholic priests and leaders also talk about Pope Joan. Also there are carvings by Bernini in St. Peter’s Square depicting scenes of Pope Joan. So the fact is that this started way before the Reformation. It’s patently false to say it’s just Protestants who keep this alive.
“Who did it in earlier centuries, then?”
The chroniclers and list makers who accurately did not incorporate her mythical 9th century reign.
“The legend has been around longer than the Reformation.”
No, all of my ancestors actually existed. Joan is a myth, a legend and nothing more.
“BTW-Vlad may be also interested in knowing that several websites which promotes women Catholic priests and leaders also talk about Pope Joan.”
I knew about websites like that more than 15 years ago. Liberals share liberal beliefs and myths. It happens.
“Also there are carvings by Bernini in St. Peters Square depicting scenes of Pope Joan.”
Actually, ignorant people, especially Protestant anti-Catholics and radical Liberals, always say that but make the same mistakes over and over again. There is a statue which they say - incorrectly - represents Pope Joan when in reality it represents Mother Church. The reliefs on Bernini’s famous baldacchino are also offered up as proof that Bernini believed in Pope Joan, but in reality the archives in Rome show that at the time of the construction of the baldacchino, Pope Urban heard that his niece was with child but that the doctors did not expect her or the child to survive. Pope Urban promised God he would built something great out of his family’s own wealth if his niece and the baby survived. Hence, the depiction of childbirth of a figure representing a papal family on a baldacchino that is covered with representative symbols of Pope Urban’s family.
Now, there is no doubt, however, that Pope Urban VIII was fascinated by the “Pope Joan” myth. He commissioned Leo Allatius, a Greek by birth, to research and publish on the legend. Allatius published his book in 1630. Bernini finished the baldacchino in 1634. Clearly if Allatius was published 4 years before Bernini finished the baldacchino then Pope Urban, who commissioned both works, and Bernini too, had to know that the essential story was a legend. Allatius proposed that perhaps a false prophetess - condemned by a synod in 847 - was raised up as an anti-pope by her fanatic followers, but there was no more evidence for that theory than any other “Pope Joan” theory.
But why let facts and good research get in the way of stupid, blind, Protestant anti-Catholic bigotry and ignorance, right?
“So the fact is that this started way before the Reformation.”
No kidding. Don’t strain yourself with any deep thoughts there.
“Its patently false to say its just Protestants who keep this alive.”
And I never claimed that so I have no idea who you’re addressing that comment to.
Hmmmmmm....sounds like an "Urban" legend to me. ;O)
“Hmmmmmm....sounds like an “Urban” legend to me.”
Check the records. That’s what historians do.
And even if that story is an “Urban legend”, the fact that Allatius was done with his research and published it years before Bernini finished the baldacchino means more than anything you’re posting.
Catholics are humor challenged.
It appears to have been lost on the hearer.....
That's odd. Bernini was born about 50 years after Martin Luther and Henry VIII died, so I'm not sure what kind of sculpting he was doing "way before the Reformation."
LOL!!! Yes, I think someone needed a little nap. :O)