Sunday, 19 April 2015

Gothic Art in Spotlight: Horned self portrait of Rona Pondick

I am back from New York! Well, have been for more than a week but unfortunately I have been terribly busy. I really liked that city! Not sure if I have the need to go there again anytime soon but still my vacation was very successful and enjoyable. I am going to make some posts of the creepy or disturbing artwork I saw there during these few weeks. The first is a sculpture that was in the exhibition Self: Portraits of Artists in Their Absence at the National Academy's Museum.

The National Academy was established 1825 by a group of distinguished American artists. The Royal Academy in London gave inspiration to them to form their own Academy. The mission is simple: “promote the fine arts in America through instruction and exhibition.” Each member of the National Academy is asked to produce a self portrait for the Academy's records and the exhibition Self was created from those works.

In the stairway to the next floor of the exhibition was an interactive artwork. The visitors were allowed to write and draw on the walls and leave an imprint of themselves to the Self exhibition. This was my favorite quote on the wall:


There were many beautiful paintings and emotionally rich video installations and breathtakingly gorgeous sculptures but I feel one especially fits the idea of contemporary art that appeals goths, which is the point of my Gothic Art in Spotlight posts. At least most of the time. :D

The sculpture I am about to introduce is made by Rona Pondick years 2000-2001. Pondick has a unique style in making sculptures and many of them are hybrids of humans and animals or humans and trees. They are grotesque in the old sense of the word. During the Renaissance the word grotesque used to refer mainly to artwork that depicted hybrids with qualities from humans, animals, and plants.


I went to Pondick's website and fell in love with her work! The use of metal in the trees especially gives them this eerie extraterrestrial feeling. Still, this post is about Ram's Head, so let's concentrate on that one. Since it was presented in the exhibition of self portraits, I believe I am safe to assume the face of the head is depicting the artist herself. Either metaphorically or more like actually resembling the artist. You can see from this photo that the lighting of the statue has its own meaning. The shape of the shadow is long and actually resembles a real ram's head.


The material used is yellow blue stainless steel. I am amazed how many different textures there are in this work! The expression of the sculpture is interesting, I can't decide whether it is sullen, or annoyed or what else.


The horns are massive and I found the earrings made out of little heads delightfully creepy. They seem to reach out to traditions of voodoo and shrunken heads. The shiny part of the top of the head looks to me like it is the actual skull beneath the less shiny skin. And because the skull has been exposed, the facial expression has hints of pain in it. Do you see what I mean? There are of coarse numerous ways to interpret this work of art but that is one of them.

Thanks for reading and my next post will be in two weeks!

9 comments:

  1. Very cool. Looks like you found some interesting art pieces. Seems the Voodoo vibe is going around this spring :)

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  2. Wow this sculpture is awesome

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  3. i love it, and omg the shadow--- i could have never noticed!!
    that Munch quote is like... my life.

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    1. Thanks. :D An that that Munch quote is awesome, I did not know he had said so.

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  4. damn, i wish i could see that sculpture in person one day, the pics are already really interesting! thanks for sharing!

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    1. I totally recommend visiting this museum, I just saw it from a window of a bus, otherwise I would have missed it out completely! :D I saw the poster of the exhibition and decided to go there the next day.

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  5. pretty awesome sculpture. the golden part is so weird. maybe its because that's where the "golden ideas" to make art come from.
    cool blog. nice to meet you.

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    1. That is right, definitely a self portrait is filled with metaphorical messages, thank you for sharing that! :) And thank you also for the compliment, nice to meet you too.

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  6. Hi, I have nominated you to do the Liebster Award tag because I think you have a great blog! For more information you can check my post here: http://retro-electric.blogspot.com/2015/04/liebster-award.html
    It's a great way to get your blog noticed! Once you've finished, let me know as I'd love to read your answers! x

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