The cocked head of a Jack Russell has a hilarious almost bewitching affect on me. To the extent that I’ve entered it into google to see if perhaps others are similarly entranced. To my surprise and further amusement the yield returned to me by request was multitudinous.
The tilt of the head the angle and the way the ears sit up it just gets to me. I freaking love it!
We had a few Jack Russells growing up. I have magical memories of them all. One as a tiny pup tucked inside my dad’s jacket on the bike out in Skerries. They agreed with us Jack Russells. They understood the family ways and rolled right in giving as good as they got.
Podge was a stalwart. A bright spark too. Hearing the reports about a serial killer in Milwaukee on the news signalled it was time for his evening stroll. He’d start wagging and looking up excitedly for his lead as he did when we called walkies to him and who were we to refuse.
Most of all I loved the experience of coming home from school each day, getting off the number thirty at the entrance to Baymount Park and seeing him fly out the gate darting rapidly dart down to meet me his back leg out a fetching idiosyncrasy that only added to the delightful welcome.
This is one of my early pieces of ceramic art. It was inspired by the primitive art of South America. Heavily stylised features, almost brutal in its crude execution large totemic head he is is reminiscent of the Easter Island statues. It has also the quality of a supernatural being as many primitive artworks do. He is large of head and almond-eyed as many aliens represented in film and comic books appear.
It is an embodiment of man in a very basic form. He stands erect with large eyes staring out seeking something in the beyond,something unknown. His hands clutching the sacrum or heart centre.
The subject of our origins and of our earliest ancestors fascinate me. The art that remains of previous civilisations is alive with hidden knowledge and secrets of their existence and their understanding. The awesome mysteries of the universe lie within the sculpture carvings, paintings that they left behind. The human instinct for expression burns bright like a flame.
Today’s piece is a sculpture. I made it at the Trinity Arts Workshop which I attended for years down on Pearse St. and later when it moved to Goldsmith House. I have such great memories of those sessions. We were free to create anything we liked and the atmosphere was always of a convivial and relaxed industriousness.
IN this instance the clay had a textured sandy quality which is good for creating larger works. The piece is approximately 10″ tall. The clay is dense and holds weight ideal for more upright pieces when working without an armature.
I remember working on this piece. I struggled with it considerably. I part loved and part loathed it. The contradiction between it being a monstrous yet benign figure was uncomfortable and it awoke something foreign in me that I couldn’t name or understand. It was with much encouragement that I managed to complete the project enough to fire it. The experience: the inspiration and execution was akin to some kind of compulsion or possession.
It was my frankenstein. I took him to one of the my stalls and felt again strange mixed feelings as I agreed to his sale. This time it was pride and regret when his new owners delightedly carried him away. This is the only picture I have of him taken in Dublin Flea just before I offered him up. I hope he bears treasure for many moons to come.