Well-known local artist, Judy Woodborne, has drawn inspiration from the creation mythologies for her current solo exhibition at The Cape Gallery. The series of prints and works on paper has recently been exhibited in Salzburg, Austria.
Judy Woodborne provides an in-depth look at the conceptual context behind her latest series:
I researched the history of Carnival and Traditional Folly for my Master of Fine Art’s dissertation with particular interest in rituals and traditions of different cultures, which inspired further reading about the creation mythologies of diverse cultures; mostly ancient cultures. This combined with an interest in science and the nature of matter has informed my work.
‘Prima Materia 1/1’, Judy Woodborne
‘Yang/Yin 1/1’, Judy Woodborne
‘In search of other II 1/5’, Judy Woodborne
I have taken the theme of creation mythology as a motif in these works. In Plato’s work, Symposium, Aristophanes, during discourse on the nature of love, describes the origin of human nature as being “made round-having four hands, four feet, two faces on a round neck, and the rest to correspond”. According to the story, this model of mankind was empowered with a formidable strength and speed which began to concern the celestial gods. As a solution, Zeus decided to cut mankind in two, and thus reduce their strength by half. Apollo was given the task of re-arranging their persons “taking out the wrinkles and tying the skin in a knot around the navel”. As a result of this cleaving, the two halves were condemned to spend eternity seeking their other half. This concept of duality is expressed in eastern philosophy as yin and yang. Our world comprises many further polar opposites like male/female; light/dark; sun/moon and positive/negative. In alchemy, conjunctio, – the sacred marriage of the alchemical king and queen, is a joining of powerful opposite forces not only in the exterior world of heaven/earth, but the interior world of physical/spiritual. The human brain too is divided into two hemispheres – the left hemisphere, considered male is linear and time-bound; and the right hemisphere, female, is lateral and timeless. In these works, I have woven black paper with white paper to visually symbolise the opposites. Photons of light display both particle and wave properties, and I have suggested this visually by weaving wave displacement or interference patterns of t. The shape created by the overlapping circles is the vesica piscis an oval shape which in esoteric thought is considered to represent the intersection of the spiritual and material world, a sacred doorway between two states of being.
‘Earth 1/1’, Judy Woodborne
In these works I have incorporated the four elements of earth, air, fire and water represented by the tetramorphs or four shapes which symbolically depict the elements. Earth is symbolised by the bull, the lion fire, the bird air and the falling figure represents water. The four works depicting these elements have the corresponding geometric shapes woven into the paper, with the exception of the water element represent by a circular maze woven from text. These polyhedron shapes fit within the circumference of a circle and are known as the platonic solids.
For this exhibition of works on paper, I have departed from the tradition of creating an image on copper plate, finalising the design and then printing an edition. Instead, I have created a number of images or prototypes – my “Adam & Eve”, and then taken each print through different processes resulting in each etching being a unique print and not part of an edition as such.
A selection of works from “The Life of Everyman” suite and the “Tree of Life” etching comprise the balance of this exhibition.