Photo by Roger Scott

December 2017

From a distance across my living room, it’s a Kachin a, a doll or a masked dancer from a sacred Hopi ceremony in northern Arizona, part of a culture of first peoples and Native American tradition.

Words run together across the forehead to read SPREADACROSSANDDOWN; that’s what the sign says.

The mask wears a hat with a few red feathers. Across the face are two arrows, red and black that cross to form the four directions to tell a tribal creation legend, two more lines diagonal make it eight. The Blessing Way prayer goes “as above so below, north, south, east, west, within, without and all around.”

Curious bits of childlike crayon sketches in yellow and other happy hues color the eyes whether open or closed I know not, and blush cheeks that may smile or be merely amused. At center the nose is simple geometry, a black square, like the playful abstract drawings and paintings of Paul Klee of Bauhaus and Switzerland. The dance costume is red and green felt as her leggings seem to sway to and fro.
A mouth spells out: ACURIOUSLIFTEDTURN: like a digital display, the letters seem to move across a screen opening, to imply continuous movement and connected repetition. They defy definition.

In all, it may be some kind of a totem, a fetish talisman object with unknown magical power.

We, every one of us go through life protected by the power of story; all art tells a story. Art matters, so much that it matters not the artist intent, only that it means something thing to the beholder and works to add meaning to see. To have and to hold, all the more a blessing, to experience over time, each time it gains mystery and possibility, a luxury of necessity. It works to “fill as space in an interesting way” as art is defined by another favorite artist Georgia O’Keeffe.

It looks like the person who made it had nothing better to do; yet why not?
What better pastime could there be?

It’s on loan to me from the north Atlanta artist Rebecca Stuckey, who I call the author inventor of a new art form we could call suburban Thangka, that look like the portable Tibetan prayer altar tapestry meant to travel on pilgrimage. They are part of a larger framework, like the small altarpieces carried along the way during the Italian Renaissance, el Camino. I call it 2.5 D; a gallery manager says it fits a category of mixed media sculpture, off the wall stuff like a tapestry. Handmade, one of a kind unique original, at once eternal and new invention, made of and to arouse emotion.

These postmodern works are similar modules designed to combine or detach to make larger or smaller totality as need be, in a new age alternative strategy to present art beyond the usual canvas and glass covered frame, for a more sensuous immediacy.

Take a look, to find out what you would call it? A bit of whimsy, curiosity intended to incite discovery.

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Review by Marianne Scott