Saturday, October 20, 2012

Joseph Cornell/Cabinet of Curiosities

 This month's theme on Sketchbook Challenge was Cabinet of Curiosities, and I was truly challenged as to what to do!  I could not overcome my old conceptions of what a CoC was- and it almost blocked me until I remembered a box I did when I was studying Joseph Cornell.

Every once in a while, I "self assign" myself an artist to explore.  I enjoy the research portion of the assignment, as much as the actual looking at the art.  I love reading everything I can get my hands on about that person, their life, their art.  I will sometimes even take it one step further, and research the person who influenced them!   Several years ago, I was researching Joseph Cornell.  He was a shy, odd little duck to say the least, but his assemblages or "portable shrines" always pull me in.  Something about their simplicity, yet deep meaning gets me every time.  His life was a difficult one, yet he could find beauty in the most basic thing.  I created a small series of wood boxes as I was studying him, and found a quiet peace about the process.  To see Cornells work, you can visit Paris's web museum here.  Why do I bring this up you ask?  It seemed perfect timing to bring these back out into the open for this month's Sketchbook Challenge. This month's topic is "Cabinet of Curiosities."  I'm not so big on skeletons and bugs, so my curiosities are ordinary things I am curious about, or want to look at in an explorative way.  Somehow, putting an egg in a box elevates it's importance, so we pay more attention to it's detail...

A couple years ago I went to a workshop with Lynn and John Whipple and had a great time whipping up this box of found objects!  Everything was found objects, including the box constructed of several old food crates!  I had made the doll from Sculpey and it was in my bag of old art pieces that had never found a home.  John and I covered it in carpenters glue, took it outside into the alley and set it on fire.  I really wanted that 'just un-earthed' look, and I am pretty happy with the results!
This month's challenge made me really think I wanted to make some more boxes this winter!


laurie said...

these boxes look so fun - creating a whole world within their space. i really like your CoC. the best thing about a CoC is that there are no real rules. it's just about what you believe belongs there.

Joanne Huffman said...

Nice sketches, interesting assemblages.