Sculpture of the Month Series-Brad Burkhart, Sculptor

I am a sculptor working in mythical/archetypal imagery derived from intuitive sketching.  I currently publish a Sculpture of the Month Series where I talk about one piece in depth.  Below is the April entry.  You can see and comment on others on my website: https://www.burkhart-sculptor.

Issue #11 - April 2021
Horned Man’s Melody
(2000)

This month’s sculpture comes a little later than usual due to a sudden laptop crash while traveling and my prior preparations for a presentation for West Coast Drawing.

I recorded said presentation, by the way, and should be able to share it with you soon. It focuses on the transition from my early doodle drawing to sculptural work. Please send me an email if you’d like to see the video.

For April, I’ve chosen a piece that delves into the darker, perhaps shamanic, side of the psyche. I have observed these images rarely sell. Some feel frightened by them, and to others, they may seem somewhat perverse.

This piece shows a horned, squid-like shaman/demon floating ominously over a landscape where a frog and a deer appear bewitched and intimidated by his dark melody.

With no humans present, we can guess the threat must be to the natural world. The animals appear to plead for mercy.

I think we all know that parts of ourselves emerge at times - either in the imagery of dreams or extreme psycho-emotional states - to deeply frighten or even shame us. Social media now seems to invite these darker parts of ourselves out into the world without our even becoming aware that it’s our shadow self the medium speaks to.

Rarely do we receive any clarity about the negative consequences of letting what Jung called the “shadow side” of our psyches out into society. Instead, we tend to avoid looking too closely at the feelings and ideas dark images evoke. This has led us dangerously toward more prejudicial views and even violence against ourselves or others.

Similarly, the casual way we use up resources and deplete the natural world without seeing the shadow side of this process has lead to a climate and extinction crisis.

When approached consciously and with compassion, however, becoming aware of our psychic shadows can strengthen our capacity to create lives of care and understanding for ourselves and all beings.

Perhaps our current, world-threatening climate crisis somehow parallels a loss of mindful connection to our shadow selves and the corollary dissolution of community we’re experiencing.

I invite you to notice with an open mind and heart what “Horned Man’s Melody” brings up for you. Try to acknowledge any darkness that runs through with compassion. How can we hold our fears and vicious thoughts more honestly and gently for the benefit of all?

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