Deadlines, shows, and orders have been keeping me busy in the studio the past few weeks as the pre-holiday calendar winds up to year’s end. Not complaining! But, I have noticed that recently this space has been more full than usual of Three Star Owl news and less full of natural history, birds, and fiction (will Professor Wayfarer ever find out what kind of accent the elusive shirker Dario is sporting?)
In keeping with this trend, here is more Three Star Owl news. My recently completed piece, The Ossuary: an archæology of resurrection, is part of a show, Death and Rebirth, currently at the May Gallery at Maryville University. Curated by James Ibur, Death and Rebirth showcases ceramic sculpture by more than 20 artists, including the work of Mark Messenger, Arthur Gonzalez, Adrian Arleo, Susan Bostwick, Kurt Weiser, and more. Each piece deals with the eternally cyclical nature of mortality and lifeforce, especially resonant during this season of Día de los Muertos, All Soul’s Day, and Halloween. If you’re in St.Louis, the show will be up until 2 December 2011.
For those of you who are not in St. Louis or are unable to visit the May Gallery, a bit more information about the Ossuary is in order. It belongs to the same corpus of work as the earlier Owl Hives. Here are some images (be sure to click to enlarge), and a dose of scholarly commentary thanks to a friend of Three Star Owl, Darius Danneru, PhD, who has generously squandered his ample expertise on — and occasionally even loaned his person to — my creative efforts.
<< Ossuary: an archæology of resurrection (smoke-fired stoneware, 13″, A.Shock 2011)
Notes on “Ossuary: an archæology of resurrection”
“… related to these [Owl-hives] is another well-preserved unprovenanced piece from a private collection (fig. 9). With tiny strigids issuing like bees from its interior, this tripod effigy vessel/ossuary is itself owl-like, large-headed and standing on two taloned legs and a tail, shrouded in a torn, priestly cloak of feathers fastened with curiously unknotted twine. Below the cloak the body is textured with bones, above it the form is both lidless vessel and roofless, columbarium-like house with windows.
Owl about to launch (detail, “Ossuary”) >>
This mix of architectural and sepulchral imagery suggests a funerary significance, but the sarcophagal feel is leavened by a swirl of rebirth: the gravid cavity shelters the proto-owls while they await release from the depths of their bone hoard (whether the owls’ conceptual matrix or simply the remains of the last meal hardly matters), and the tomb’s roof and windows are open to allow the owls to launch like souls from the Guf and be restored, winged, to the world.”
– Text excerpted from D. Danneru, “House-Owls and Owl-Houses: do model ‘owl hives’ at Beit Bat Ya’anah offer evidence of ancient strigiculture?” Obscure Histories Quarterly, v. 42:3 (Fall 2010) p. 84.
Darius Danneru, PhD, is the Wayfarer Professor of Crypto-cultural Studies at MacCormack University, a fellow of the Szeringka Institute, a member of ICER, ESSA, and currently a visiting Professor at the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago.
<< peeking through the windows into the heart of the Ossuary.