In search for a KING


Buddha in red scarf

Reclining Chinese Buddha- amused by what he sees, likes to be seen in a decorative way, takes care of himself


“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”
― Lewis CarrollAlice in Wonderland

‘In Search for a King’ is my effort to create a healthy perspective about male identity. I am not interested in sharing about godly muscles and outwardly handsome fellas like the Greek ideal. I am actually more curious about how the pressures of social norms influence and direct the male psyche negatively which could be traced back to Greek’s bent on perfection. Equally true for women of course. There is a difference between ‘the status quo cultural/social male expectation’,  Robert Bly’s ‘Iron John’ and every other male composite in between. This issue is no doubt complex during the history of the earth. When we look at the positive and negative effects of the Industrial Revolution, capitalism, patriarchal structures, binary thinking we can get a glimpse about the cultural evolution of human identity. I am obviously not a radical feminist from the turn of the 20th or from the 50’s but I am deeply concerned as a mom to an 11 year old son, as a sibling to several brothers and as a wife to my husband and dear partner that we respect our gender differences because ultimately gender doesn’t matter, our differences do, and diversity is the way. So why bother than in search for a KING?

I have an art installation coming up in late autumn this year, a narrative about a KING ( the male authority in us) surrendering to larger forces than himself, and while he thinks he is descending into an unstoppable ‘hell’ he realizes this journey is a beautiful release and by this he gains every ‘jewel’ he ever wanted. It is a portrayal of  ‘humility’ as a sublime act, a royal transgression that is so un-stately for his kind yet absolutely necessary for social and environmental transformation. Yep, kinda dramatic.

Aside from working out logistics of budget, deadlines and managing assistants for this project I am in the throes of conceptual and material research.

For one, most often kings are presented standing or sitting, dressed in exquisite and cumbersome attire while exuding a strong sense of self, seriousness and power. Google portraiture of a king and you might find it amusing-

King portraiture

Louis XVI, King  of France and Navarre by Antoine-Francois Callet (1754-93)

Grand, self-assured, he’s got it going on.

 Secondly, what of a king reclining and showing off their garments and status? Thirdly, was Gandhi not a King so to speak?

My investigation in this post is to hunt for other possibilities of ‘being’ in my story of a king. So I am looking at reclining Buddha statuary and funerary art as a start.

Colossal size immediately triggers awe. To follow are profound images from the exotic Far East.reclining buddha ruins

Above we see a relic of a reclining 42 meter Buddha at Wat Lokaya Sutha  in Ayuthaya, Thailand aka ‘The Temple of the Earth’. This temple was destroyed when the Burmese took over the city of Ayutthaya in 1767. The significance behind reclining buddha statues is that this depiction of buddha in serene calm shows detachment from habitual cyclical desire. They are often portrayals of the attainment of Enlightenment just before death.

sarcophagus figures

Etruscan sarcophagus with reclining couple.

Early Etruscan Sarcophagus with reclining couple, from the Banditaccia necropolis, Cerveteri, Italy, ca. 520 BCE.  Painted terracotta, 3′ 9 1/2″ X 6′  7″.  Museo Nazionale di Villa Giulia, Rome. Love this ! what a fantastic portrayal of human life animated while fully aware of our inevitable death. How do you read this piece?

water buddha

Reclining buddha in water-Luang Prabang-

 My thought is this reclining Buddha is seen here in a flood. The placement of the hand supporting the head indicates his passing. So peaceful, so gracious, so beautiful.

 Buddha Enlightenment

Reclining Buddha Head- Luang Prabang

But alas the search for a king must continue. Any direction will do…

“Curiouser and curiouser!”
― Lewis CarrollAlice in Wonderland


TO ARTEXPO NYC- come a few illustrations of my Blood Queen

silkscreen heart and layered

silkscreen heart on deep dark organza in front of a wine leather background

 No one’s heart really looks like this silkscreen, but my imagination has it this way for now. Lately I have been curious about manipulating an image of mass and musculature such as the heart into something quite ethereal, diaphanous, fragile, present yet unnoticeable. The heart has violent strength, solid and forceful, always on track so to present it as a veil of oddly connecting fibrous nerve and vessel endings flowing into the awkward ‘next’ does seem contrary to the perfect system it abides by. I am not a heart expert obviously, I approach ideas and life from a philosophical possibility, from instincts, research and a deep need to make something happen. While I am forever a sucker to figure and re-configure why I am living, a narcissistic habit that grounds me with the absurd, I am also quite taken about the amazing regularity, ordering and systematic tendencies our bodies perform and need. At dinner tonight my son, a fifth grader reviewed and explained our human biology: all the traps, tunnels, nasty liquids and bulbous solids …well Mom…the human species has it all going on…

"tea anyone?" asks the Blood Queen

The Blood Queen oozes, unravels and spills onto you and like a new blend of tea offers another savory moment

 The Royal Albert tea cups I used in my Open Sesame installation were the conjuror of these illustrations. Tea cups are ‘muy elegante’, they are divine vessels that carry the elixir of soothing temptations  and heart filling comfort. Tea with others or tea alone, having tea is dream time, surreal tranquility.

Having tea is anything but comforting

Flying tea cups buzz away like a centrifugal force, Open Sesame is opening…

Around 3 pm its time for a cuppa. An indulging flight towards sweet ecstasy…



Golden gestures, ornamental cover, text fused and worn

The tea ritual is very personal and yet we all know  it is also a communal and aesthetic performance; a collaboration with the cosmos. It is an art form to be respected by many cultures and one that I have grown up with in Anglo/Irish tradition. These last two mixed-media works present the tea cup in informal ways; they lack stability, order and predictability and flow in an odd rhythm. In the final illustration the floating topsy turvy cups have lost detail and their identity unlike the previous. There is something disconcerting about them but I shall resist having tea with the Mad Hatter for now and rest my appetite from the nonsensical.


alice in wonderland

tim burton- Alice in Wonderland