Through sculpture, I try to make invisible things accessible and complex things easier to comprehend. What is going on in the brain of someone with Alzheimer’s? What are the messages we give boys about how to be men? What do girls and women make of the expectations they perceive about how they should be? How does it feel to rebuild your self after a severe trauma?
Simran: The Altar of Memory looks at dementia — what it is, and what it’s like to live with it. Each memory is actually multiple memories. The memory of holding a baby is a touch memory, but also sight, sound, scent, emotion… each bit processed by a different part of the brain. Here each memory is broken into its component parts in different areas of the brain. Neurons, represented by crystal beads, forge and travel pathways, here made of spiderline filament, to make and retrieve memories. Some are clogged, others frayed. The neurons don’t always make it where they’re trying to go. She might remember holding someone, but not who it was, or that it was her baby, but not what they were doing.
His Own Man is part of the XX/XY series about gender identity and issues. Through interviews with boys and men, I learned that they feel they get opposing sets of instructions, and are expected to fulfill both at the same time. “Explore, risk and break new trails,” for example, is opposed by “Never make mistakes.” How can you take risks and explore but never put a foot wrong?
A figure we call The Little Dude lives inside the sculpture, patiently working away. He may be building something wonderful, or he may be walling himself in to feel safe.
Sotapanna: Up From The Ashes is about surviving trauma and rebuilding. It’s made from recycled polymer clay, recycled copper wire, and recycled aluminum mesh. I don’t think it’s true that you can simply declare yourself over something really traumatic. Much like it takes time for new growth to fill in where there’s been a wildfire, it takes time to sift through the pieces of your self, decide what to keep and carry forward and what to leave behind, and grow again. It’s hard, but possible.
Other pieces in the works right now include a companion piece to His Own Man, Real Lady, a piece about living with autism, In My Room, and a tribute to the enduring power of ignorance, They Call It Bliss. There are more pieces planned but those aren’t in the construction phase yet.
Copyright © 2015 – 2017 Joey and Mark Jones