Feathered Sculpture - Virgil A. Walker

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Pheasant, goose, duck and chicken feathers individually glued to a single polymer-plaster cast of an original clay sculpture.  35” x 44” x 17”

Filling out Social Security papers sent me off pondering the quirks and quandaries of time, it’s unfolding and meaning. I had just started this figure and had to pose before a mirror and realized that it had been 50 years since I had more than one ab. Thinking of phases of life I noticed this present one opened 23 years ago when I started what I grandly called Feathered Sculptures in a Mask Motif: from the Nature of Mind Series.

As my mind returned from its drift, I found I was staring at Andy Goldsworthy’s A Collaboration With Nature leaning against the bookcase. On the cover is an arrangement on a beach in Scotland of pebbles of ascending size in a golden spiral. Each stone had been scratched with another rock then broken in half before aligning the breaks to create a widening shadow line through the unfolding spiral. Each pebble, as a moment, event, phase or chapter in growth, has been scoured and broken, leading to the next in an unfolding pattern like a Nautilus shell, galaxy or cabbage. The progression in size, based on the Fibonacci sequence, is the sum of the present and previous. What struck me in rethinking the unfolding of a life was the possibility of a harmonic where certain points in time are dramatically informed by an arc across the spiral of unfolding time.

Senex is Latin for old man. Yet the experience of ‘old’ man or woman holds within it more than tired, worn and sore. It has a clear harmonic with the entry to maturity, that moment of the first full embrace of life. We may interpret this as needing a facelift, Porsche, or younger mate, none of which I can afford, but the real invitation is to an orientation that embraces life, not as Atlas hunched with the burden of the world, but lightly and open and up.




   Photo:  Richard K. Webb

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