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Beyond Form

This piece of coral beckoned to me on Keawakapu Beach in Maui – no mistaking its skull shape. The deep hollows for cheeks and eye sockets had been hollowed out by spiny sea urchins. I recognized a whole, encrusted ark clam shell (Arca ventricosa) which had carved out its place on the top left of the coral.  The head of a dove with the arc clam shell forming its left wing took shape at the forehead. The painting would embrace death and transcendence as represented by the dove.

To my horror --- after several days of painting --- the ark shell fell out of its socket --- exposing a huge live mollusk.  How could it live out of water all that time? I thought it was empty. Grabbing a bucket, with coral and attached clam, I rushed it to the ocean, hoping to save the dying clam. Sadly, I recognized it had attached to its coral home for life.  Full strength Clorox allowed the painting to continue after dissolving the dying clam.

The Arc shell is known by the shape of its folded bird wings and is named after the ventricle of the heart. Not only would this be a painting of death and new life but also of opening the heart and unfolding ones' wings. At the base of the coral sits one half of an ark clam shell, and a sea urchin – both partly responsible for the form of this skull.

(Artist’s Philosophy refers to this painting)

 

 
All Images Copyright © 2007 - 2011, Marjorie Tyler. All Rights Reserved