by artist Tony Staroska
We spent a portion of our summer holiday in Door County, Wisconsin exploring artist's galleries. Outside the Juddville Clay Contemporary Studio Gallery where artists Tony Staroska and Rebecca Carlton display their creations, we were shown this sculpture. My photo doesn't do it justice. As I examined the sculpture from different angles, it felt like a piece I wouldn't want to keep in either my house or garden. It's sudden impact is too unsettling, too disturbing.
But it does provoke a response, doesn't it? The skeletal fetal form, backbone of rebar, clutching hand and iron fist. I wish I could see it at dusk with a candle placed inside its hollow body and light filling the empty spaces. There is hope in the presence of light, and I long to give this man and all of his kind a glimmer of hope.
Art, in my amateur opinion, is often something one feels first and thinks about later; it is evocative, visceral. It isn't divorced from intellect, it just isn't dependent on it. And art begets art. I already have a short story half-formed in my mind with this figure at the crux. This is the kind of sculpture I would visit over and over again in a museum. Why isn't it in a museum? Who would have thought despair could look so distressingly beautiful?
There is hope in love, too. Whether it was intentional or not, the juxtaposition between the sculpture of despair and fountain of hope was deeply moving.