"Plato's text, The Symposium, consists of speeches in praise of Eros by a group of notable men at a banquet. Aristophanes, the comic playwright of ancient Athens, uses his time to explain the origin of our desire. Once upon a time there were three kinds of human beings: male, descended from the sun; female, descended from the earth; and androgynous, with both male and female elements, descended from the moon. Each human being was completely round, with four arms and four legs, two identical faces on opposite sides of a head with four ears. They walked both forwards and backwards and ran by turning cartwheels on their eight limbs, moving in circles like their parents the planets.
The gods on Olympus felt threatened by these unruly and powerful creatures that might someday scale the heavens. The gods debated what to do about these creatures. In the end, Zeus acted and split the humans in half dividing their power.
Aristophanes explained that when we find our other half, we are 'lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy' that cannot be accounted for by a simple appetite for sex, but rather by a desire to be whole again, and restored to our original nature." Tom Suhler
This story in part was the inspiration for the images in the series "The Symposium": ancient humans before and after Zeus' intervention.
What would it be like to live in the clouds?
Moving through them
Sitting on them and in them
Would there be an up or down?
What would your world look like?
What would it look like to observers from the ground?
These are just a few of the ideas that conceived this collection almost 10 years ago. During the last 18 months many different narratives have been explored and and completely different environments have evolved in the studio. All of this done on set without the need for digital manipulation of these images.
Photographer Tom Suhler takes photos but not without tremendous thought and planning. His knowledge of history, art, literature, mythology, and philosophy influence the "story" behind each series of photographs that he explores and produces.
In his words, "I am driven by my curiosity of everything and to my desire to stimulate people's imagination and their curiosity. I strive to create pieces that are engaging, open to interpretation, interesting during repeated viewings, and inspiring.
My process often follows the following steps:
Forget everything I know how to do.
Figure out how to create it.
The process is more interesting to me rather than working with the things I already know how to do. There are many more failures than successes this way but it creates more unique and interesting pieces. Besides, if the chance of failure is not significant then success means very little."
The series "Vitruvian Woman" illustrates this approach that is both scholarly and creative. Marcos Vitruvius Pollio, born around 80 BC, served in the Roman army designing and constructing artillery machines. He was also an architect and his most important work was literary. He wrote the only surviving book on architecture from classic antiquity, " De Architectura", known today as "The Ten Books on Architecture". His discussion of the proportions of man inspired people to give those ideas form. It was thought that the proportions of the human body should be able to fit in a circle and a square. The significance of this thought was centered around the belief that the circle represented the cosmic and divine and the square that which was earthly and secular. "The human body wasn't just designed according to the principles that governed the world, it was the world, in miniature." (Smithsonian Magazine)
The most well-known is Leonardo da Vinci's "Vitruvian Man", the image on the top right. The image in the middle is believed to be the earliest Viturvian man executed by Francisco de Giorgio. Da Vinci did his in 1487 and the one on the left was done in 1521 by Cesare Cesariano. Suhler's "Vitruvian Woman" series was created on set in his studio with no digital manipulations.
Credit given to Smithsonian Magazine (online), Wikipedia, and Tom Suhler for the ideas put forth in this blog.
Michael michaud designs from nature
Jewelry designer Michael Michaud of Connecticut credits nature for his design inspirations: "Nature's creations are the ultimate Art that fills our hearts with joy, warms our souls with promise and fuels our spirit with desire. My true inspiration to reflect this beauty in adornment is what my Art is all about."
One of my personal favorites of Michael's are the pieces using the ash leaf design. Michael includes information about each leaf or part of nature that inspires his pieces. His description of the ash leaf sent me on some research to find out more. Michael shares," The Ash Leaf's leaves have long been thought to attract love and prosperity. One of the great Leafs of Ireland, this leaf has rich history in folk lore and religion. Growing up to 80 feet tall, the Ash Leaf became known as the Great Mother of the forest and eventually as the Leaf of life. A symbol of strength, empowerment, and destiny."
I did some further research and learned that the Ash tree was very important in Viking mythology being the "tree of life". In Ireland, it is the second most popular tree to be beside holy wells. In British folklore, it was seen to offer special protection for babies and children. In many parts of England, children would bring a branch of the ash tree to school on Ash Wednesday.
Seems like a beautiful accessory to wear on Easter.
Blessings from Art Connections Gallery on this most Holy Day.