Melinda Morey

Exhibit showing - November through February 26, 1999

Our Lady of Perpetual Mystery

22" x 16"
$250 unframed
$400 framed

The creation of this piece was a mystery most of the time, a grasping at gossamer. Only now that it's complete I am able to see what I wanted to say. It is this process of art which reveals me to myself that I find so engaging; the articulation of the unknown, that it (and I) may go out into the world and perhaps make some difference.

Artist's Statement

"Having been raised outside of any church influence, I do not think of myself as a religious person, although I am deeply spiritual. Perhaps because of this non-inclusion, I have always been curious about religious iconography, particularly that of the Virgin Mary. In 1996 while visiting New York, I was stopped in my tracks by a fifteenth-century wooden statue of the Virgin Mary at the Metropolitan Museum. I did several drawings of the statue and decided on the spot (somewhat to my surprise) to work with this image. The sculpture was called The Virgin Mourning, and came from the Abbey of Barigerais in France. I was most struck by a result of the lighting, which cast a strong shadow down the Virgin's face, completely obscuring all but her nose and a sensitive mouth. These features, left in light, came alive in the contrast. The statue's title was also a curiosity, as I was not familiar with images of the Virgin mourning, and added to the enigma of the statue and to my interest.

"What I saw in the statue of Mary was simply about looking inward. The mourning as I understood it was about the truth of being human. We were born, we died. Everything else was open to interpretation. The mourning may have been for our separation from God as we became human, for the division of spirit and matter; for the knowledge that reunion comes only in death; for the reality of the cycles of fullness and emptiness, death and rebirth that exist in nature; or because we really had no idea what happened. Yet there was strength in this sculpture's presence, an acceptance of the unknown. I wanted to draw on this strength.

"In my print I wanted to include the element of cycles, of death and of rebirth. The moon was a powerful symbol for cycles, personally and as an icon associated with women's (pre-Christian) spirituality. I used the crescent moon because of its association with Artemis - a Virgin Goddess, as well as the Virgin Mary. What the goddess archetypes, and Mary in this light, represented was a sense of wholeness in and of themselves. I wanted to see Mary as a whole being, whose existence was not dependent on union with a man. I believe Mary also exemplified the contemplative life, supporting the notion that a woman had the right to retain her essential, inner self, intact. The cloud expressed the fleeting nature of all things and invited contemplation. Light coming through the clouds always reminded me of both Sunday school illustrations and the suggestion of some greater illumination/God/awareness. The monumentality I've given to the figure imbued her with power. The dark rectangle on the figure's chest represented the mystery; a clue or entry to some other realm."

PMB 566
551 Cordova Rd
Santa Fe NM 87501
As of Fall 1999

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