Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Answering my own questions - some...

I realized at least one archetype is dominant in each figure.

Some figures can be construed to reveal more than one archetype...
The spiral in the central configuration is an archetypal symbol...

The shapes that each figure is composed of are abstracted primal symbols – triangular, circular and square.

Some hieroglyphics, pictograms, marks representing sacred iconography are in the lines of the figures.

“Archetypes provide the deep structure for human motivation and meaning. When we encounter them in art, literature, sacred texts, advertising—or in individuals or groups—they evoke deep feeling within us.
These imprints, which are hardwired in our psyches, were projected outward by the ancients onto images of gods and goddesses.
Plato disconnected these from religion, seeing them in philosophical terms as "elemental forms."
Twentieth-century psychiatrist C.G. Jung called them archetypes.”

'The Fan Blade is often an archetype reflecting rotating, spinning movement through consciousness, time and dimension. "

Afterthoughts - 'Congregation'

In my opinion, artists create self portraits, no matter what the original intention – the outcome of the work reveals self. Try as we might, we reveal our identity, our uniqueness, a signature of our soul. This is how I view one aspect of my recent installation. I did not consciously set out to do this. Once the work was presented, I was struck by several levels of interpretation the work may be subject to or clarification the sculpture would explain, and especially, how it revealed who I am and how I think of myself.

First I realized at least one archetype was dominant in each figure. Some figures could be construed to reveal more than one archetype – or if I think about it some more, maybe more than two... Even the spiral in the central configuration was an archetypal symbol... And further, the shapes that each figure was composed of were abstracted primal symbols – triangular, circular and square. I even began to see some hieroglyphics, pictograms, marks representing sacred iconography in the lines of the figures.

After digesting that revelation, I realized I was describing life stages. Simplification of life stages - but surely they were there. And more, the stages were equal to the next, none more prominent, as if there was a balance. Each was interconnected with the other, and each was blatantly important as the next. –Interestingly, I did not order them sequentially. What did that mean?

Now my questions for myself...
  1. So what does this say about me, how does it portray my character, my personality?

  2. Why did I call the work Congregation, when none of the figures actually meet? Why do the figures only connect by the spiral, the whirling...?

Then I need to understand and explain the shrouding, the emptiness within the figures, the broken fragility of the sculpture, the facelessness.

So what does this say about me, how does it portray my character, my personality?

  1. Why did I call the work Congregation, when none of the figures actually meet? Why do the figures only connect by the spiral, the whirling...?

  2. Then I need to understand and explain the shrouding, the emptiness within the figures, the broken fragility of the sculpture, the facelessness.

  3. And finally, the cluster of apple branches placed in the middle of the spiral centre must be clarified, which can be described as the only congregated gathering of any kind in this show.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Kazakhstan Exhibition

Please check out my Flickr account for more photos...
Here is the installation of "Congregation".
30 October – 1 December 2008
National Museum of Art, Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Title: Congregation

This exhibition will be comprised of 5 over life sized abstracted human forms depicting the monumentality of human alliance and our large capacity for responsiveness to each other. This work will be displayed on the 2nd floor, Gallery 11, A. Kasteev State Museum of Arts on 30 October – 1 December 2006. Congregation is inspired by the momentous Kazakhstan historical works displayed in the gallery. More, as the work depicts people convening, the sculpture is about gathering – an assembly of people, a collection of perspectives, exchange.
Canadians are known as travellers. We explore our own nation and love to visit other countries. Kazakhstan has a history of nomadic existence, and some citizens describe themselves as part of a nomadic culture. Whether on a customary journey or because of a particular adventure, meeting new, companionable people is a wonderful opportunity to impart stories, commune, and interconnect. This work will show how amity and fellowship is universal, and how the act of congregating with each other enlarges each person, our communities, and our dimensionality.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Kazakhstan Residency

Getting materials for my work, here in Almay requires going to a construction bazaar. Each vendor is independently competing for your business. Here is where I bought expanded mesh wire. I did not speak, as my host, curator Yuliya Sorokina, asked me to NOT SPEAK, having done so while at the previous vendor... the price was adjusted accordingly.

My driver, Shokan, is a stunt driver, when not driving me around for materials. His driving on the streets of Almaty makes me feel like I am driving in a movie scene, like that in the Bourne trilogy... It was suggested, that because he has been driving with such confidence, the chances of an accident are greatly reduced.

Here is the 'store' where plaster was procured. Here, they call it gyps, and as I was requiring the material for sculpture, they assured us it was just for that purpose. Using it, I found it to be full of sand and rocks, as well as a match-book. Not ideal.

This is the gallery space at the State Museum of Art in Almaty Kazakhstan, where my work will live from 30 October - 11 November 2008.

Sand People

Sand People
Dwell on the beach
Each day wallowing
In granules of thought.
Rooted in shifting drifts
Piling high with godly gusts of bluster
Raging mounds of dusty irritation
Collects about them.
Stuck to malicious pandering
Sand people hold handfuls of
Speckled slurs that desiccate
Blister in the searing sun of
Feigned saintliness...
Scourge decency of those
That get sand
In the eye;
Blinding cruelty
Blown By sand people.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New Residency

Just waiting for my Visa to Kazakhstan...

View Larger Map

New residency, new thoughts and feelings to aquire, new work to be done... New show to produce... new friend to make. ADVENTURE!

The Word of the Day:

peregrination \pehr-uh-gruh-NAY-shun\, noun:
A traveling from place to place; a wandering.

Peregrination comes from Latin peregrinatio, from peregrinari, "to stay or travel in foreign countries," from peregre, "in a foreign country, abroad," from per, "through" + ager, "land."


Saturday, August 02, 2008

Crafting Memory


Crafting memories, prying them from the jumble of images that dart and skip, viscous fluid of blinking eyes brings sounds and smells that tingle and tremble ears and nostrils. Lateral sequences can be extracted from 'global thinking', but the curse of ordering excerpts in time and space directs mindful censorship to edit out discomfort, where flashing imagery allows generous dwelling on lost and found syncopated feelings; all.

Bashing. Crescendoing recollections of touches forced to join with word phrases, waiting, vacant spaces of time to calibrate the emptiness with feelings... there is an attempt to push or playfully awaken associations. When coherency forms, new perceptions can emerge. Sometimes new images are created, not what existed, but what might have happened -should, could, would. Desires. Regrets. There, pictorial scenarios can be more powerful than what has transpired.

Backwards and forwards, those meanderings flow. Future probabilities, presence, presumption, peace intermingled with exasperation, exasperates the creation of memory.

Most importantly, for me, is the vast omnipresence of spirit that occupies me, charging up to shape and form structural dimensionality through this 'crafting' process. Sometimes, time and circumstance allows me to explain this loveliness in to sculpture, and I am grateful.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Past Reviews - Some Published - Some Not

Hello readers of Embellish4art blog.

I have decided to post some of my art criticism - some articles were kindly published, others live here only. The published reviews' publishers are noted. All work is copywrite protected. If you want to use anything, please write me first for permission: d_alanna@yahoo.ca
If you would like to refer to them, kindly post my URL in your work. Thank you.

Debora Alanna.

The National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) Sculpture Retrospective 1996
Published in Asian Sculpture News 1996, Editor – Ian Findlay-Brown. http://www.iht.com/articles/1995/06/26/magcon.php

By Debora K-M (aka Debora Alanna/ Miss Debora)

PLEASE NOTE: The links below seldom refer to the specific work described in this review.

The National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) http://www.ngmaindia.gov.in/about_ngma.asp invited Latikat Katt http://www.dosco.org/news/2006/02/lalita_katt_holds_art_exhibiti.html#more , professor at the Jamia Millia Islamia University Jamia Nagar, New Delhi to curate an ambitious show of sculpture with work from the HGMA dating from 1833 to the present. The exhibition has revealed an extensive sculpture collection. The last comprehensive sculpture show the NGMA presented was in 1953 when the museum was inaugurated. Professor Katt, an instructor at the Jamil University successfully shows she understands the importance of revitalizing the public’s awareness of its modern sculptural heritage.

Intrinsically steeped in tradition, the consistent theme of this show as revealed in the sculpture is the artists’ experience that they are part of society that can draw from tradition but also must create something new for the world. This show is an overview of work from the last 50 years, produced in various materials and genres. The artists evoke pride in the crafts of the past, traditional materials, as well as show an evolution of sensibilities that sculptors are concerned with this century.

There are some stars in this show.

Abanindranath Tagor carved Personage in wood in 1940. http://www.sciy.org/blog/_archives/2005/10/3/1275976.html His playful yet austere miniature is an icon that pays homage to the complexity of the Indian character.
The wistful harlequinade-like work called Musical Construction (’67) by Dhanraj Bhagat combines the understanding of an Indian musical heritage with that of the experimentation of the 60’s international analytical musical musings.

Balbir Singh Katt’s (’67) piece When Man and Woman Perverted from His Glory (wood and stone) is the first work in the collection that used two disparate materials. The strength of this juxtaposition indicates the lead given to the blunt inception of the idea of self consciousness. http://www.lalitkala.gov.in/golden_jubilee/arties/view_large.asp

Several sculptures in the show exemplify India’s concern with the animal world. The carved Animal by Nagi Patel (’74) attends to India’s devotional ancestry to the animal realm. In Memory of the Lost Cow by Rajinder Tikki (’91) is most poignant; it is a testament to the future of India.

The developmental change in social history is perceived by S.G. Vidya Saakar in Mgail (’89) where an ornamental metal tree supports a woman on a swing. The hands of the swinger are dismembered.

The Pink Marble by Ramesh Pateria is a vertically positioned stone that is gouged, sawn, worn – evident is the pain of technological penetration, the affects mechanism has on traditional material and philosophy of art practise. http://www.lalitkala.gov.in/golden_jubilee/arties/view_large.asp

1994 Emerging by Gyan Singh adeptly addresses the theme of autonomy. http://www.lalitkala.gov.in/golden_jubilee/arties/view_large.asp

Deity by J. Swarminathan elegantly and poetically discloses spiritual wisdom. http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Everlasting-Beauty-of-Sculptures&id=1229436

View Through Emotion (’95) explicitly orders the chaos that this emerging national character is experiencing. Mrigendra Pratap Singh, with objectivity and gentility puts a rational matrix on intense disorder. http://www.financialexpress.com/news/Art-Of-Our-Times-Cheaper-And-Better/102786/

Madan Lal’s untitled marble and Brij Mohan Sharma’s untitled work acknowledges the consistent Indian capacity for sensuality and exoticism.

Professor Katt’s vision of India’s contemporary sculptural astuteness is not only evident from work chosen from the NGMA but is revealed in her own work, also part of the collection. Growth (’80) signifies the struggle and frustration of independence from preconceptions is experience, a challenge to all artists of the 21st century. A stunning, wood and leather bound catalogue, designed by Professor Katt, accompanies this show.

I highly recommend this exhibition.

1996 Thiruvananthapuram, India

Sculptor Aryanad Rajendram is a 35-year-old Thiruvananthapuram artist that has recently carved a meticulously realistic portrait of the father of Greek medicine, Herodotus for the Medical College of Thiruvananthapuram. He has an additional commission there to carve another portrait, which he has begun with a more geometric panache than the highly graphic Herodotus bust. The second work is organized with exactitude, the rectangularity is precise. Yet this diversion of style cannot prepare the viewer for Rajendram’s contribution to the group show at the Thiruvananthapuram Museum Auditorium this past November. The transformation, a sculpture titled We, Leaders and Money is 3 feet of green coloured plaster of Paris, and exorcized tirade on the artist’s relationship to those artists that have (the money).

The murky green of this piece is the colour of resent, of jealousy. The leaders are watchful of their bounty, ‘We’ are resentful of their spoils.

The colour of the work can also be interpreted as the raw greenness that the work also projects – the easily deceived, inexperienced public, the unprepared, culturally untrained politicians, the artist’s new practice of emoting.

‘We’ (that don’t have the money) are heads squashed by a hierarchy of totemically arranged leaders. The totem also extends to protrusions that effectively look like an orthodox crucifix. An upwards growth and extension of power of the leaders is an affliction to be borne.

A moneybag, larger than any head, balances on the contorted upper most head of the ‘leaders’. The features of the leaders become more gargoyle-like as they move up to the top. The head directly under the money is almost unrecognizable in its twisting out from human shape. Money is in their domain, high above ‘we’, and the weight of it distorts their vision, their intelligence. Justification has influenced and depressed the attributes the leaders once had.

The thrust of the manipulation of the contorted faces, the abandon of craft and precision for volatile expressiveness makes the viewer wonder whether the same sculptor produced the stone and the plasterwork. There is no dispute that he did. The question is, is the subject of the plaster the reason the stone sculpture does not render more exuberance? The stone carving is of the utmost sincerity, the control exercised is not ridged – the features are exquisite.

There is an obvious restraint in the artist’s stone output. He surges to embody his frustrations, such as those exhibited in We the Leaders and Money. For example, although the work visually describes the significance of money, poised at the top of the sculpture, the artists’ anger prohibits a consistent fluidity of spirit in his work. Yet knowing the sculpture this artist has previously executed, one can only applaud the vivacity he has allowed himself to display and hope the lively energy will extend to his carving endeavours.

We, Leaders and Money is currently on display at the Salyan Art Gallery, Thiruvananthapuram.

Friday, June 13, 2008


The adages that trace over this quirky pondering about who an artist is amuses, bewilders, annoys and enthrals me simultaneously. Being blessed/cursed with this beloved and derisive existence I can say that the question is what not who is an artist. An artist is an entity, a quality of being. It is not the person but a manifest. I do not blink or wink or itch with any special talent. Nail and hair growing are effortless. 'Artist' is an embodiment of a way of living that occurs because there is no filtering - sensory overload, if you like - art is the filter, what we can manage to capture for articulation of our existence. This process and the result may seem coy or persuasive, banal or exotic, lively or suppressive. It may engage joy or spirituality to awaken. A response is not required, but sincerely feared and appreciated or despised or rockets the doer into a spiral of self-loathing or ecstasy. What can I say... each work I make is a compulsion, a vent to exercise my psyche into another realm of contemplation. Each new idea propels me towards the next, and without a physical explosion of work, I cannot realise the enormity of what was given to me, an ability to incise and perplex or reveal the ambiguity and precision I endure and love. What a gift!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Can't Breathe

Craters of understanding
Walking naked in my memory
Recollecting fine manipulation
In deep pits of consideration
Retreating into cavernous space
Finding wistful triangulation

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Months, Days, Years

Months are predicted on the days, and the days define the year. What will I remember this year being about?

Stagnation, redefinition, lunging towards and away from dolour...that heartbreaking sorrow, cultivated by the relationship that I need to release.

So far and farther...

Confabulation. Not my style.
Substance, conversation.
It's about understanding...
Talking 'small talk'?
Quirky and vague. I cannot prattle.
Fabricate a memory? Too much work.

Trust. Trust? Dubiety is gone. I no longer have any doubt.
I need a new horizon, fresh stories, suprising escapades, amazing reverie, wonderful opportunies for mysterious and joyful, expansive dimensions...

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


Strange how the choices we make do not seem to be choices at all. There is a craft in our sense of development, where leaving things alone will transform a situation, and acting on an impulse will stagnate our hopes. There does not seem to be a balance, only a cosmic humour, toying with our will.

Frenzied fighting freshens
Fear and freedom recoil,
Stirring dreams unrealized into

Crazed remembering
Where no thoughts dwell
Only the feel of a
Forgotten fish
Or stink of recalcitrance
Slither into our possessive

Breath, lightly, breathe well
Breadth and depth of
Singularity –
There is not a chance
There is change
There is. There is not.
Where is the duck pond?

Can it really exist, or is it just a place
Where I will never go?

Feeding wild ducks seems
Beyond my comprehension.
Weeping willows
Endless tendrils
Creeping onto my
Memories of mother.

She adored that idea
Left me , wondering why.

And there he stays
Leaping, flapping near that pond
Into a world of
Family and brave assertion.

A broken name
A bereaved heart
But still he chooses that
Needs the comfort of
Regeneration, of a child’s world
To nurture them
To rear himself.

I am only a mirror of his
Luxurious mind.
So he can see himself
So he can be.

He can share nothing
That we are not creating
And there is the flailing truth.
One day
The globe will spin, and I will
Fly away.

That ugly duckling without
A pithy pond.

There will be no musing,
Elude, escape
and soar.
Instead of feathery caresses
And flight, sight into new dimensions
He will only have the drooping
Strands, stranding
Only hair
Red drippings
To wrap up his thoughts
To tie them up
To keep them in his secret world
Where they will remain
Curled into a reflection
That he can look into
At that stagnant pond.

And mother will say,
To him from some hymn
He will hear
‘Give me some seed
To feed
The ducks.’
And there will be none.

Just the sound of quackery.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

As He Lay Sleeping - Introduction

THis is a draft of a collection of poetry and stories I have written for the past 10 years.

As He Lay Sleeping

Figuration dominates. A form of a human being shapes itself under the covers, reclining into dreams. There are times when a wink is a sigh, and feigning sleep when none is to be experienced becomes a ritual or habit, of life as a lie. A simple thing as pretending to be sleeping, yet remaining in repose anyway can dissolve away desire for life’s pleasures. Insomnia becomes a sleeping soul.

There are those that give us solace, and resistance to their power is futile. That comfort and acceptance will drive us to accept ourselves, believe in ourselves, and work miracles with our talents. Ignoring our gifts creates weight of frustrating circumstances. Lying to ourselves and to others covers our feelings of inadequacy. On-going deceit generates a need to doze, to lie down and sink into the console of a sofa or bed. The stories need consistency, plausibility, and especially, a degree of excitement to grab the listener, a story to convince the listener, which benefits the teller by releasing doubt. When these lies are told for years, the succour that was once found in a willing, kind believer is desecrated. Laying down a friendship to support a habit of deceit is a tragedy.

Here, is a tale, a story of transition and love, of worship chained to greed, and affection transformed. Questions are unanswerable, as the questions are vague transitory emotions that explode into events. The questioned becomes inventive in order to answer with élan, leading with a lie, preventing a truth from holding him, imprisoning him.

Somnambulist? No. The sleeper is conscious. But as he lay sleeping...

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Getting there and back...

ANGEL - 3D Scan - Raw
  • Comforting, is the knowledge that once an idea is born, there is hope that it will come to some form of existence.

You have to have an idea of what you are going to do, but it should be a vague idea. ~Pablo Picasso

If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it. ~Albert Einstein

An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy to be called an idea at all. ~Elbert Hubbard

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Pages of unwritten sadness...
Words have no meaning
Because everything you said
Are lies.
Lie in your beach
Bungalow wallowing
In the slink of Chanel and Ferrari
United with the allure
From those Louis Vuitton and other
Assorted chattels
A jewelled chimera
Sliding over your prevarication
Snug as the sand cuddling waves
Of salted truths
Whisking the winded chimes
Into dulcet paltering
Your tides of emotion wax and wane
Through the pulverized sincerity,
What you have
Is not a foundation
Only the fantasy
Of felicity
Pounding and powdered
Are your claims of love
Your devotion
To expend a presence
A charisma built on
Shadow and promise
Let the fog dwell
In the house of your golden ring
As there you will find a love that can be bought
And it is not mine.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

A brief overview of this past year...

2007 was a concerted effort to delve into my soul and scrape away what I could of extraneous forces, reveal what I could, and find further inspiration in destinations that had called to me for some time.

It was a success in that I was able to create 3 solo shows of my sculpture, and participate in another group show. What I have been doing, what I will continue to do, is to fortify my art oeuvre, and proceed to discover new possibilites for myself, for my work and present them to the world.