A R T I S T S T A T E M E N T
The Sisyphean Circle Series (2005-8), draws parallels between the Greek methodical character and the plight of the artist. Because of his transgressions Sisyphus was banished to Hades and forced to perpetually roll a large stone up a steep hill, only to have it tumbles back after reaching the top. His toil lasts all eternity and might be seen as a metaphor for the creative process and especially applicable to one like me who uses stone as a primary material - in fact one important aspect of the series is that they are self portraits.
Like Sisyphus, I am continually and literally pushing stones around the studio. I am also figuratively pushing them to a creative peak. Once at the “top” and the sculpture is “finished”, like most artists I am compelled to start again at the “bottom” on the next piece. The cycle is unending.
Viewing the creative process simply as “endless toil” is undeniable negative and I prefer to consider the myth and metaphor through the lens of French existentialist Albert Camus. In his essay The Myth of Sisyphus, he pointed out that the idea of reaching ones final destination is not always the most important. In fact if one "reconsiders Sisyphus" as Camus suggests, the struggle or journey reveals itself as ultimately the most meaningful. As in life, this notion is at the core of the creative process where the act of making triumphs over the object or final product.
John Van Alstine