|Wendy Stefansson. Spinal Column. |
Pit-fired white stoneware clay,
wood supports. 1999.
This sculpture is intended to evoke the human spinal column. In it I am playing with ideas about life and death; about permanence and impermanence. On one hand, bones symbolize a belief in resurrection, a belief in spirit, because they outlast the flesh of our bodies. They are as eternal as any part of our corporeal being. And on the other hand, bones represent danger, death and mortality. (Think of the Jolly Roger. Think of the symbol for poison.) Death and life integral to the same totality.
At the same time, in both its form and its construction (the clay “vertebrae” are supported internally by a small tree), this sculpture references the axis mundi: the world tree, the mythical centre of the world, the connection between heaven and earth and the meeting place of the four directions. (T. S. Eliot: “at the still point of the turning world, there the dance is.”) The point at the centre of our being that pins us to the earth; and the upward striving of our erect-walking, god-seeking, whirling dervish species.
Perhaps it even references the cross.