Under the brown fog of a winter dawn
T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land is a poem of images that evolve through a timeless history. Though the work is often described as one of “voices”, the words also invoke images within our imagination about events and circumstance through the description of each of the central characters. The poem is peopled with actors that interact and weave through our personalities as well as our history. Persona is perhaps the best word to describe the way the voice of the poet evolves through each character in the drama to create the desolate landscape of the poem.
The characters I have created for the series are composed of photographs I have taken of old carved wooden dolls, primitive human forms whittled and painted, left in the corner of shops to gather dust. These protohuman forms are given a suggestion of life by the addition of fragments of actual human elements such as an eye or an arm. These hybrids have become the central figures of my waste land.
The images are constructed by layers of texture and are textured by layers of images. The central figures have their own boundaries but the borders are often tenuous. They emerge and dissolve into the circumstances of their lives as do we. The relationships between foreground and background becomes the point where both creation and destruction meet. They are formed by the time they encompass and the place they inhabit. The personas of the characters in the poem become more than cultural symbols of our human journey, they become the actors (the heroes and heroines) that define the process of evolution toward an unknown, but imagined future. They are flesh, blood and syllable, as well as wood.
20x24 Polaroid image transfers on 30x40 Arches paper