Thursday, 29 August 2013

Beak and Claw and Badger Jaw the art of Charlotte Rodgers

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Finding information on this sculptress is much like looking for teeth on a chicken. Details of age and other insignificance's are even harder to uncover. I have a fancy though that that is precisely what she wants preferring her art to do the communicating. One site featuring her work says that Charlotte is an animist and that all her work is created using roadkill or the remains of animals that have died naturally  The same site also goes on to say "Some of these pieces are spirit houses, some are a twining together of the essences of various creatures to create a new energy, and some are simply magick." 
I have insufficient knowledge to comment. What I do know is that I like this stuff.

N'Mare: The Descent
I then found, via the  queen of the art blog Dolorosa, Charlotte's web site. There I found this -"Charlotte Rodgers is an artist and writer who lives in quiet eccentricity in Somerset. Her work is primarily focused on the concept of the fetish and the power it contains. She works with bones and road kill which she prepares and integrates into her art to convey the essence of time, place and species."
And that is about all I could find on the artist. The art though, with all the meaning given it by both herself and another interested party is surely open to interpretation as is any other creative souls work? I accept that Charlotte knows why she does what she does and I mean no disrespect when I offer what I feel and what I see when I look at these odd but exhilarating creations.
'Success' Mixed Media with apothalyte, snake ribs and snake vertebrae. Image by Gerard Hutton

Success' Mixed Media with apothalyte, snake ribs and snake vertebrae.

I feel as though I have entered a new mythology. One that shares its roots with Pagans and theists but a different myth with its own culture, its own pantheon. The effect is not dissimilar to reading Neil Gaiman's 'Sandman' books. Something arcane, deep rooted in soil and herb law but magical in a very distinct way. The gods may not be in evidence for they seldom are leaving cryptic clues as to their having been here perhaps at some time long ago. There is blood and bone here in these works. Death is represented as a stage of something larger, of transience and of rebirth: of constant regeneration.
Even I, as a long time agnostic bordering atheist, find it hard not to be moved by these shapes, by their sense of shared existence with other animals and other matter.
"The ten thousand things and I are of one substance."
'Recovery Ship' Mixed Media with quartz crystal and snake vertebrae

Recovery Ship' Mixed Media with quartz crystal and snake vertebrae

As unnerving, disturbing even as some folks assuredly will find these sculptures, I find them deeply moving. They connect with me somehow in ways that make words redundant. I am not spiritual by any shape or shade but there is a connectivity here that goes deep and beyond my mortality into some forgotten recess of self and psyche, of some dark before time that I cannot easily  fathom. I think they are staggeringly beautiful and would give my eye teeth to own just one.
Einstein said it best:

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”




There is a thread, invisible, intangible, that acts as conduit between those gods of the ancient world, Zeus, Brigit, Camulus and Hades, Isis and Osiris, Wotan and Bishamon that connects those mythical beings into manifestations of the natural world, of storms and plagues, of root and soil. This then, links those to human nature with all its fallible forms and frailties melding with these statues and through those myths and these figurines comes the corruption of being which brings us to an even larger fact - life goes on within and without you.. Myth, nature, mankind, life and death.
Here in this art of Charlotte Rodgers, these wonderful sculptures, life and death merge in tangible tactile shapes for us to see, to touch and to be humbled by.

Totentanz. \nMixed Media with Crane's head,fox bone and Turkey Chick.\nImage by Marc Aitken

Mixed Media with Crane's head,fox bone and Turkey Chick

Flying on the Horns of a New Moon: detail

Flying on the Horns of a New Moon: 

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3 comments:

Wanda Bates said...

Wow, that's intense! I think it actually pays homage to the creatures by using their remains. It isn't like that sick freak in Holland who kills dogs and cats, mutilates the corpses, and dodges charges of animal cruelty by calling it "Art." She goes by the name Tinkebell and is a sociopath who is getting away with something awful. This person finds remains of creatures that have died naturally and utilizes those.
I'm not too sure about the big gold baby doll head, but I rather like the rest of them.

Russell C.J. Duffy said...

Yeas, Tinkebell sounds perverse. I guess she would claim she is no different to meat eaters who kill for sustenance but even I, a long standing veggie bot subscribe to that. Tinkebell actually kills to make art? Perhaps the Boston Ax murder or Jack the Rippers mutilations were works of art? I think not.
Some of Charlotte's work unnerves me but I think that is the point. We all are, the more distance we place between us an animals, scared of dead things. I like what she's done.

Vanessa V Kilmer said...

Fascinating art. I don't think we have enough magic in the world. Our everyday is just so boring and mundane.