Mary-go-round - 2011
Rhodesian Teak, Jellotung and Poplar wood (2000mm x 2000mm x 2500mm)
Mary-go-round is a sculpture installation that was inspired by the representation of a ‘bull’s-eye’ emblem, created by using a circle within a circle, has been taken apart and presented in three separated segments. When the installation is viewed from a side angle these segments become apparent, but from a frontal viewpoint the one piece connects perfectly with the next – giving the illusion of a singular piece.
On both the outer and inner wheel of the installation, there are cut-out figures of a girl that starts in a standing position with both arms at her side and then slowly – frame by frame, moves both her arms upwards until she reaches the top, and then downwards again – creating a flying movement when viewed in sequence. In the last piece of the installation, there is an engraved rewritten and de-constructed poem of the well-known children’s nursery rhyme - ‘Mary had a little lamb’ - that spirals to the centre point of the installation as a whole.
The connection that the title makes to the name Mary could be read in a Biblical context, as the name of several women - named Mary - occurs 51 times in the New Testament, showing their prominent position in a time of Jewish male domination. In some countries where the Christian faith has been oppressed, children’s nursery rhymes often served as a medium to convey a deeper spiritual meaning, which could also reveal parts of scripture therein.
Mary (mother of Jesus) and Mary Magdalene (a proclaimed prostitute who became a follower of Christ) have in a way been distinguished from the other women in the Bible, as they became iconic symbols within Christian faith and has also been portrayed throughout the history of art after Christ.
The original meaning of the name Mary is, however, derived from the notion of trouble and sorrow, and by replacing the word Merry (in Merry-go-round) to Mary - a biblical name with the opposite meaning - juxtapose the definition of the written phrase to that of the spoken one.
The connection between the work itself and the process thereof is also of vital importance in order to understand its meaning. The cutting of the wood is done by hand; this affords me a more authentic and honest connection with each piece. In a way, this seems to defy technologically advanced methods, such as laser-cutting, which speeds up the process and goes against the controlled, impersonal accuracy of the digital realm. Every single line that is visible on the side edge of each cut-out figure is proof of the process I call ‘carving’- challenging the traditional meaning of the word. Instead of following the line with the band-saw blade, the cut is made by going towards the line – carving away millimeters of wood at a time. Each piece of wood has been kept in its natural state with no oils, stains or varnish used on the surface – therefore retaining a part of its original identity.
Website of South African Artists