Artist statement

Published by Catherine Toulsaly

In progress

In progress

Art Therapy is about looking inside a stone for the mystery of one's own interior life

Artist statement

Since 2006 I have been exploring art with a personal preference for stone carving. Direct carving has become my “ordinary habit” in the words of Ann Cvetkovich, “a way to build the spiritual warrior self” necessary to overcome depression and go on with my daily life. It is a spiritual journey, a natural process that brings balance to my mind and body.

 

Truth (marble)

Truth (marble)

Sculpture can not be taught by books or by spoken words. It must be experienced by the artist. The hands must be trained by practice; the mind by constant acquisition of knowledge and the heart by its undefeated faith and desire to overcome all obstacles. For sculpture is a thorny road beset by barriers, defeats and disappointments.

Four views (a self, a being, a living soul, a person based on Edward Conze's translation of the Diamond Sutra)

Four views (a self, a being, a living soul, a person based on Edward Conze's translation of the Diamond Sutra)

A procedure dating back to prehistoric times, my own subjective taste draws me to Venus of Willendorf with rounded buttocks and breasts instead of the exquisitely shaved Michelangelo's David. Female figures are more fascinating to me from the beautifully carved belly of Venus de Milo to the poetic movement of the Winged Victory of Samothrace. Closer to us, 20th-Century artists such as Brancusi and Modigliani are guiding my own artistic work.

 

I found a small reproduction of the Venus of Willendorf in a Goodwill store one day. Since I mentioned my fascination for the figure, no surprise here, I jumped on it. “What do you think about the Venus of Willendorf ?” I asked. “ Do you like it or do you think it is grotesque?”. “Both”, said the person I was addressing myself to. “So why is it that I think it is beautiful?” I asked. Without a word, my interlocutor with a slight pouting face simply rolled his eyes.

Bodhisattva and myself

Bodhisattva and myself

Venus of prehistoric proportions

Venus of prehistoric proportions

 

Although most may prefer a more classical form of art, I enjoy Venus of Willendorf for what she represents: a female archetype in prehistoric time. This work is a tribute to her. In my work as a writer and an artist, I like to think of the beginning of time, of the whys and hows and give credit to the nameless thinkers and artists who preceded us. Venus of prehistoric proportions is a female builder, a stone carver standing among her tall pieces. She shows strength, power and embodies the joy of life.

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