Monday, July 24, 2017

Despair


Despair
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?




     Interestingly, next to the man in despair, on the front lawn of the studio gallery was a rock fountain. Placed among the rocks were dozens of small heart-shaped stones. Rebecca, a warm, charming and chatty woman explained to me that when she and her husband, Tony, met they discovered that they had something more in common than their love of art: they both collected heart-shaped stones.







     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.

5 comments:

  1. Moving! Makes me think of the ice man in Italy, the holocaust camps. Sigh...I just saw a movie called "The Levelling" ending with live images just like this despairing figure. It has haunted me for days.

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    1. I found "The Levelling" online, but have been unable to find it for rent or at the library. Where did you see it?

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  2. You are right it is very disturbing but I don't see despair I see fear but for all that it is beautifully sculpted although I certainly couldn't live with it because it is frightening too.

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    1. I see fear, too...and defiance. It does seem easier to live with it in my head rather than curled up in the back garden disturbing the flowers.

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    2. Bit late I know but I thought I would just mention that I showed this picture to my husband who trained as a sculptor and he said it reminded him of those figures found in Pompeii - did you happen to know what it is made of - I presumed it was bronze but he thought it could be resin

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