Hybrid symbolism

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Arts & Architecture


I use the images of tools because they are versatile and visually interesting. An object such as a hammer, saw, or wrench is interesting not only because of its own formal elements, but also because these familiar forms clearly allude to other things such as human figures, weapons, vehicles, or animals. For example, in my canoe sculpture, I construct an object that is identifiable as both a wrench and a snake. By combining formal elements in this way, I create a hybrid meaning that presents a new symbolism to the viewer. My vocabulary consists of religious icons that I have retrieved from my past. Raised in a devoutly religious household, I have a firm knowledge of numerous biblical images and stories. These images have such historical significance and symbolism that when altered they do not lose their meaning, but rather create a hybrid meaning. For example, in “Tunnel,” in order to emphasize the peculiar relationship between luck and religion, I juxtapose religious symbols with symbols of luck. I find luck to be an interesting concept especially in relation to religion. I created a new religious icon by combining the religious acronym “INRI,” with the image of the four leafed clover. The position of the symbols on top of a ladder is not only difficult or seemingly dangerous to reach, but also implies the involuntary use of a tool, in this case the shovel, if the ladder is used.




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