"SISYPHEAN HOLIDAY (Portals and Passages)"
12-6"h x12'6"w x4"d
Artist's studio, Wells, NY
Garden overlooking Sacandaga River
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This dynamic new work is a extension of the recent "SISYPHEAN CIRCLE SERIES" (2005-2009) which examines parallels between the Greek mythological character Sisyphus and the plight of the artist.
As we know from mythology because of a lifetime of transgressions when Sisyphus reached the underworld he was forced as punishment to roll a large stone up a steep hill, only to have it tumble back after reaching the top. This toil lasts all eternity and can be seen as a perfect metaphor for the creative process and life in general especially applicable to those, like myself, that use stone as a primary material.
However, to view the creative process (and life) simply as toil or a punishment is obviously too narrow and negative. I prefer to take the view presented by Albert Camus, the French existentialist in his essay The Myth of Sisyphus. where he uses the myth to illustrate the idea that reaching ones final destination is not always the most important. If one “reconsiders Sisyphus” as suggested, the struggle or journey reveals itself as ultimately the most meaningful - an idea that I, and many others, believe is central to the creative process and more broadly to life in general.
After completing over 30 sculptures in the "Sisyphean Circle Series", a new series has developed - SISYPHEN HOLIDAY SERIES. These new works are presented in a light hearted, “tongue in cheek” way that suggests giving Sisyphus (and me) a break or “holiday”. Here the "Sisyphean Stone“ is placed in a form similar to an Adirondack guide boat or canoe which gives the sculpture a playful and local summer twist.
John Van Alstine 2009