“Seed of Life (long deep sleep)”
Hand-embroidered paper collage. Funded, in part, by the Frye Foundation.
14.5 x 10.5 inches
Created for Chamber Music at Frye Art Museum
The Frye commissioned me and thirty-five other Seattle artists to create new work in response to musical compositions based on James Joyce’s volume of poetry titled Chamber Music. Curated by new Deputy Director Scott Lawrimore, we artists were chosen for our contributions to Seattle’s art community in avenues beyond our artwork.
Meeting with each artist individually, Scott outlined the detailed path he had taken to arrive at the show’s two-fold premise, touching on, among other things, the history of the museum, a synchronicity of numbers, his love of public art, the aesthetic movements of Seattle artists in the 70’s/80’s, James Joyce, love itself, and even Wu-Tang Clan.
To Scott, I related an ongoing concern of my own, regarding a general lack of genuine greatness in Seattle–the kind of big and engrossing work you come across while stumbling around Chelsea any given day of the year–and how that likely had to do with to a lack of opportunity and space. He suggested that we are, perhaps, in a state of transition; between great times; and that the hoped his new direction of the Frye would play a part in that upward shift.
I left the meeting with a pair of CDs, a few sheets of poems and a lot to think about. From the set of poems/songs available to interpret visually, I selected XXVIII, as sonically interpreted by Sphyr:
Gentle lady, do not sing
Sad songs about the end of love;
Lay aside sadness and sing
How love that passes is enough.
Sing about the long deep sleep
Of lovers that are dead, and how
In the grave all love shall sleep:
Love is aweary now.
While it wasn’t necessarily my favorite song of the bunch, the vocal style implies a hazy, darkness that appealed to me, and as I continued to think about this period of transition, the “long deep sleep” phrase stuck.
My ongoing fascination with geometric patterns had recently turned me on to the many designs found in the Flower of Life, including the Seed of Life, and within that a mesmerizing cube formation known as Egg of Life.
With these bits and pieces in mind, I considered the burial of a once-great love, and how everything that is buried grows anew; reformed. After toying with many colors, it soon became clear that a deeply muted palette was the only option, which spoke clearly to Seattle’s oft-cited dreary grays.
In addition to the commissioned piece, each artist was asked to contribute artifacts to an archive which represented their contributions to the art world. I created a catalog of work showcasing the many websites, publications and logos I’ve created for artists and galleries over the last six years.
I’m really pleased with the outcome of the piece and proud to be a part of this exciting exhibition.
(original text from shaunkardinal.com)