THE MUSE PROJECT
In Greek mythology nine sister goddesses were born to Zeus and Mnemosyne on Mount Olympus, inspiring artists throughout the archaic age of Greece. Homer, referring to them as muses, established a tradition whereby artists invoked the muse for inspiration. THE MUSE PROJECT expresses, in stylized form, the spirit of artists whose work inspires me.
MAGDALENA ABAKANOWICZ, who grew up in Nazi-occupied Poland, lives and works in Warsaw. Suzi Gablik refers to Abakanowicz’ sculptures as “threshold figures, functioning in two worlds at once: temporal…at the same time open to eternity.” Her colors represent earth, forest and the blood shed during the Holocaust and Stalinist regime.
LOUISE BOURGEOIS is an iconic sculptor. I have imagined her lost in contemplation, dwelling in childhood trauma to fuel her creativity. She is painted steel grey to symbolize the strength and enduring quality of her astonishing artistic vision.
PEMA CHODRON reflects the gentle wisdom of the ages. As mother, grandmother, Buddhist nun and author, Chodron inspires through her teachings. She is clothed in the gold, saffron and pomegranate tones of Gampo Abbey, the Tibetan Buddhist community in Nova Scotia she calls home.
Carving stone in the shadow of Henry Moore, BARBARA HEPWORTH distinguished herself as Britain’s pre-eminent female sculptor for her powerful, symbolic forms. She is imagined in the blue and green of her beloved Cornwall coastal village, reclining by the sea.
Rarely traveling far from San Idelfonso Pueblo in New Mexico, MARIA MARTINEZ brought global attention to the pre-historic black ware pottery she revived. Her work inspired me when I first studied ceramics. Representing a life rooted in the discipline of craft, her outreaching hands are molding an invisible form.
For LOUISE NEVELSON, art was the essence of all awareness. Her larger than life personality sometimes conflicted with her monochromatic assemblages of discarded materials. She was a true pioneer in modern American sculpture.
ODALISQUE turns and twists to attract our attention. She is patterned after Ingres’ eponymous painting in the Louvre, and painted the color of the pomegranate, an archetypal fruit promising fulfillment of life’s dreams and visions. Odalisque, as muse, and pomegranate, as symbol, merge into a singe entity representing the possibility of artistic transformation.
Daring to abstract reality at a time when most painters pursued realism, GEORGIA O’KEEFFE was a true pioneer. Her emotionally-charged visual language first appealed to me as a college student. Today, as a sculptor, I am drawn once again to her carefully-crafted surfaces and undulating forms.
MITSUKO UCHIDA is revered as one of the world’s premier pianists. She speaks often of the need to find the “right balance” between intellect and emotion, public persona and private self. Anyone who has seen her conduct a Mozart Quintet from the keyboard senses her vibrant energy.