Talking to the stars                                     1995 & 1996


    ‘Talking to the Stars’ relates to the roots of astronomy and man’s attempts to understand the interplay of stars, moon and planets.    Constructions by Native Americans called ‘Medicine Wheels’ helped to accurately predict the progression of the seasons; knowledge that was crucially important the for survival of hunter gatherers. 

    Some aboriginal cultures associate a serpent deity with the moon as the repeated shedding of the skin by the snake is equated to the repetition of the moon’s phases.  In turn, this may be equated to the cycle of the seasons or rebirth.  It is another example of relating in tale and myth what we imagine may be driving events in the heavens.  These final five images incorporate the symbol of the python that is linked to the phases of the moon in some Australian aboriginal mythology. The spirit figure or shaman was drawn from the ideograms of the Ojibwa.  The headless figure with outstretched arms symbolized a person with insight or wisdom.

Shaman 1, 2, 3, 4        1995

Acrylic on Masonite

10” by 14”

Resurrection    1995

Acrylic on Canvas

26” x 32”

Star & Stone

Actual, Virtual, Physical

In My Yard

This Season

Question / Answer

Virtual Path

Open For Inspection

I Place Myself Here

The following eight works are reactions to the construction of my own medicine wheel.  

Collage, Acrylic and Graphite on Masonite         1996

14 1/2” x 9 1/2” and framed in Oak.

    Upon moving to the Rocky Mountain foothills above Denver, Colorado I began to construct my own medicine wheel by placing stones in alignment with a central stone pillar and the rising or setting sun.  In just one year I was left with two arcs of stones from which I was able to determine the summer and winter solstice and at the mid-point between them, the equinox of spring and fall.  It also delineated North and South.  My calendar was far simpler than the medicine wheels constructed by Native Americans, as exampled below, but theirs may have been constructed and improved upon over many centuries.

    These works helped me to ponder the mechanics of thought as well.  I labeled the position of the star, planet, sun or moon, ‘the actual’.  The course of stones that were laid upon the ground I dubbed the ‘physical or tactile’.  The mid-point between them is where hypothesis takes place.  This fabricated mental point I called the ‘virtual’.

    This framework allowed me to see these structures as more than calendars that could foretell the seasons.  I could also see structures like them as rudimentary science experiments upon which one could test theories about an otherwise unknowable universe.

For this painting I appropriated the rising couple on the left from Michelangelo’s ‘Last Judgement’.  The image of the ‘Two Day Moon’ is my favorite of the 28 day cycle, in which major craters seem in perfect alignment.  The reappearance from the new moon was considered a ‘rebirth’ of sorts by many cultures and the shedding of the snake’s skin is also a symbolic rebirth. 

    A shaman inhabits a spirit world of motion in my Awakening paintings   The image that seems like a nuclear fire is actually the Ojibwa ideogram signifying persons gathered around the sharing circle.

Awakening 1 & 2        1992

Acrylic on Panel

26” x 26”

Native American medicine wheels found in the northern plains of North America.