Pomegranates in Art as Symbol and Metaphor…. Guest Blogger: Deborah Hickey-Tiernan
Summer Exhibition Blog #9 last in a series Level 3 Studies in Art and Design – Lantana
Color. Pigment mixed into water, oil, egg yolks, acrylic, wax, alcohol, and dye; pressed into pencils, sticks, crayons, cakes, and markers; brushed, spread, poured, rubbed, scratched, rolled, sprayed, scribed, and drawn fascinates and provides a luscious array of endless possibilities. Then what???
In this course I have found substantive and reliable teaching that allows me to consider and develop my answers. The methods and materials, along with the elements and principals of art and design provide the necessary framework for living with the blank surface. And for the journey from what is imagined to what is made.
Pomegranates feature in a number of my pieces and are a splendid source of inspiration. From ancient times and throughout the world’s traditions and religions it is beheld as ritual object, symbol and metaphor. Pomegranates exist in holy texts, myths and stories. They are imaged in sculpture, architecture, stained glass, mosaics, ceramics, paintings, and textiles.
Sacred scriptures of Jews, Muslims, and Christians (my tradition) include the pomegranate tree in the Garden of Eden. It’s no wonder. Evergreen leaves and glorious blossoms that grow into appealing red spheres which open to display glistening, juicy fruit. This tree would surely live in any real or imagined paradise.
I chose the shape and dazzling color of the juicy seeds for further exploration in some of my work. Alcohol inks on Yupo paper were helpful in this effort. I looked in particular at the monochromatic spectrum of color found inside the fruit; and made two interpretations of the juicy seeds as having a dynamic presence.
These two views are derived from a Christian perspective. One sees the pomegranate as a metaphor for Jesus with the bursting seeds referring to his birth and then rebirth in the resurrection. The other, juicy seeds flowing from a tree, alludes to Jesus use of seeds and trees to teach about God’s inexhaustible grace and mercy
For me the setting of The Harker Center, the other students, and the very fine teaching offer the opportunity to create an artist as well as art.
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