In 2008 twenty artist friends of mine and I had a show called "Navigating the Imagination: Objets d'art a la Joseph Cornell"
My assemblage attempted to define the extremes of "want" from addiction, to passion, to dire need for basic sustenance.
"The Book of Want" accompanies the assemblage—its end pages repeat the lyrics from the Rolling Stones: "You can't always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes you find you get what you need. The book invites its readers to write "What do you want?" using a pen that plays the recording of the same lyrics.
The full exhibit catalog can be downloaded on Lulu.com
In 2011 I entered this jar in the Whitney Art Works, Portland, Maine, "The Jar Project."
Deep beneath the Mediterranean Sea in Egypt's original capital of Alexandria lies the remains of over 20,000 sculptures, columns and precious artifacts from the royal quarters of Cleopatra, the last queen of Egypt. Unrivaled grandeur laid to ruin by the Roman conquerers in 30 B.C.
672 years later near the same site, the greatest library in the world, the Alexandria Library was sacked by the Moslems when they took control of Egypt.
This jar brings together two monumental events as if to preserve their bounty and create a record of their spoils.
This is only one example of lost treasure as mankind battles for power, and reminds us of the ongoing destruction (obliteration of one another's culture) in current times. One hand creates as another destroys, many times because of differing religious beliefs.
Later I added lucite to the jar to give it an underwater quality, plus floated charred scrolls from the library fire.
When "The Jar Project" exhibition moved to Spring Gallery, Belgrade Lakes, Maine http://www.springgallerymaine.com/ for the summer 2011, I entered a new jar based on the fantastic drawings of Ernst Haeckel.
Haeckel, was an eminent German biologist, naturalist, philosopher,
physician, professor and artist at the turn of the penultimate century.
He discovered, described and named thousands of new species, mapped a
genealogical tree relating all life forms, and coined many terms in biology.
He also promoted Charles Darwin’s work in Germany.
Haeckel’s Aesthetics of Nature had an immediate influence on
architecture and design of the time.
I created an underwater scene of jellyfish, anemone, sponges, corrals
and other sea life using Fimo clay, lucite and sand in an antique Ball Jar,
with etched seaweed on the outside.
The Cradle Project promoted awareness and raised financial support to help feed, shelter and educate children orphaned by HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Artists were asked to create a cradle for a fund-raiser auction using as many recycled materials as possible.
I made cradles out of walnut shells, held in the hands of the local goddess Mami Wata who sometimes takes the form of a mermaid. Each cradle holds a tiny scroll carrying the message, "Mami Wata, protect the children."