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Sonia Kasparian: Archetype

ONDA Gallery, Portland
Jul 26, 2001 - Aug 28, 2001

Sonia Kasparian, Archtype-work in progress (2001),
wire & mesh

In Kasparian's exhibition of new work titled "Archetype," she attempts to reexamine the presence of religious, mythological, and iconographic figures. She draws inspiration from many cultures and religions, as a spiritual but not religious person. Rather than redefine an icon that already has centuries of visual and historic definition, Kasparian creates her "archetypes" to express the inner emotional resonance that a particular deity embodies. Her interpretations are not literal and can be a bit ambiguous. They are beyond the religious spectrum and taken out of the iconic context, become more universal.

Kasparian works with salvaged mesh and wire from hangers and door screens, as well as other found, recycled, and natural objects to create her work. She builds life size figures that begin with an outlining armature and are covered in screen mesh, creating a human form, which is most often female. Mesh is also the primary media used to create her two-dimensional painted works.

Kasparian suspends the work at eye level in a circular, womb-like composition which the viewer is able to walk inside. This circle is meant to provide a spiritual centre, and feeling of wholeness. The suspended pieces feel as if they are light and have transcended the boundaries of gravity, as deities often do. Ever present, Kasparian uses such things as candle lighting, river rocks, and rice to symbolize earthly elements - earth, fire, water and air.

One of the pieces in this installation is Kasparian's interpretation of Kali, the Hindu goddess of death, destruction and rebirth. For Kasparian, Kali is the archetype of the wild woman. She is on all fours like a howling wolf with her head thrown back in wild expression. Representing freedom, danger and risk, Kali is bursting out of a crate with tangled hair. A sculptural Buddha shrine, the erotic Venus, and a serene feminine Jesus are also present at the exhibit.

© Allyn Cantor