Artists > Representing > Ruth Marten > Ruth Marten Texts > Artist statement: New Works, 2014 (engl.)

Artist statement: New Works

The discovery of mid-18th century Dutch prints on esoteric Judaica was the inspiration for this suite of 9 pictures. So obscure were these depicted rituals (even unknown by religious friends) that I gave myself carte blanche to roam across the landscape of great ideas of Faith. We are all familiar with giant themes such as Sacrifice, Reliquaries and outsized Priestly garments but the specifics of the actual hardware and furniture are more imagination than cataloguing.
Once I began to work I realized that I could continue without end as the phenomenon of Religion seems to be Man’s most inventive, theatrical and esoteric practice.
Starting with Adam and Eve (and a very different apple), then to Polydeism in a print from 1761 first etched from at the scene in Herculaneum, next to an unknown creature in a bag representing a sacrificial offering and then to a golden table with bread offerings being visited by Spirit, these were quite serious themes before I got my hands on them. The Tabernacle, which is the prototype of Church/Temple/Mosque, offered the possibility of showing Man for the beautiful and inconsequential creature that he is and the giant butterfly catcher was inspired by the giant crosses that litter the American landscape in Texas and the Bible Belt. Captured! Who could resist the allure of the Mandrake Root? The original artist saw the thread-like roots found on the bodies of carrots and parsnips and exaggerated them as hair thus imagining these incubi as a kind of missing link. The reliquaries are all mine and could generate a whole portfolio in the future; couldn’t so much of what we use and admire really be reliquaries? The Chapel in Nazareth speaks of the layers of time and believers and, finally, the Priestly Raiments are borrowed from Montezuma, African Chiefs, meteorite worshipping at the Kaaba, Orthodox Christianity, Hindu Footwear (with a nod to Ferragamo Pere), and the Hippies. 

 Ruth Marten, 2014

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