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#692.   “Fore-Fodders/Urt Mudder”
(A 19th-century Scandinavian-American perspective on family history)

37.5”h x 18.75”w x 9.7” deep, bleached/tinted butternut & black walnut, began 1995?, finished 2019.


This work began with 4”x12” section of butternut with advanced decay in the middle of its backside.  The few faces haphazardly commenced to either side esthetically demanded lamination of an additional front piece, and that, as things progressed, in turn insisted on another 2” lamination to the back. With the growing resemblance to a tree’s crown, it would have been nice to make of it a “family tree,” but the absolute  preponderance of male visages instead required that it become “Fore-Fodders.”

It would never have been completed despite the attraction it held for its many viewers were it not for a lack of focused time to begin a new “serious piece” for a gallery event.  With distractions abounding, the trunk for the tree first took an errant detour, with a large round male face serving as the earth and several intertwined female forms emerging from his tousled hair to form the trunk.  It would have worked, had not the desire to  expedite the process and avoid additional joinery resulted in the “earth’ being insufficiently wide and robust to esthetically support the Fore-Fodders crown, and a new earth/trunk was belatedly commenced.




Initial reactions support the wizdumb of the choice.  The esthetic decision may have been correct, yet the legacy of sexploitation leaves the sculptor ill at ease with incorporating female nudes, regardless of the degree to which the psychological and cultural intonations and the sensuousness esthetics of the form remain appropriate.  Viewers may surmise to their own content as to the “meaning” of the piece, but, while some symbolism was  incorporated, the primary decisions, including the artisitic license taken with the form, were entirely made on esthetic grounds.

Updated June 13, 2019