Thursday, February 9, 2012

Peace Dove/Transformer

The Unitarian Church of Berkeley was at it again! At Christmastime, the ministers, Barbara and Bill, started a conversation with their congregation about the nature of toys that promote violence, strict gender roles, etc. And they commissioned me to help create a new piece of art based on that theme. 

Here it is hanging behind the altar:

 The final piece is a white Peace Dove, 42" in circumference, made out of these toys and surrounded in a mosaic of mirror. I call this piece "Transformer" because it literally transforms the meaning of these toys into art, but that is also a name of a very popular toy!
Each person in this congregation was asked to bring to church a toy that they found offensive, violent or which had any negative impact in their own lives. Donations included toy guns, dolls, little Army men, etc. 
I set up and led two workshops during which these toys would be painted white. Thus taking their colors away from them. 
 To me there are three ways something is given meaning:  it's color, it's shape and it's intended usage. The aim of this piece of art was to take the meaning out of these toys and repurpose them.
Then I took them home and began to create a 3D assemblage piece, much in the style of Louise Nevelson. Each toy needed to blend with the others around it in a surprising way, thereby taking it's  "usage" away from each individual toy. And finally, I wanted the end result to be made up of only light and shadow - thereby taking away the "meaning" inherent in the individual shapes of the toys.
Here are some close-up pictures of the toys.

Transformer/Peace Dove
Created with the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, CA
42" diameter
Made of children's toys and mirror on wood
January/February 2012

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