Barbara Weidell

Visions In Clay 2020

Barbara Weidell

Artist Statement:

“Myths have a way of bringing what is unconscious to the surface and putting a face on what we cannot see,” Terry Tempest Williams

I have long been an avid reader of Science Fiction and Fantasy.  As a young adult, I devoured Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, rapt by talking animals, the world of minotaur, centaurs and other menacing dark creatures and spirits. Although I love stories from such authors as Ann McCaffrey, Tim Waggoner, Jodi Taylor, I was transformed by Neil Gaiman’s book American Gods.  

Gaiman’s novel greatly affected my work, and consequently, I began to do research about mythical gods and goddesses and the folklore of my ancestors.  The more I researched the more I saw my work reflect the aspects of that lore, especially, as it concerned the cycle of life, and specifically the final cycle. The mystical beings that were guardians of the underworld or the afterlife such as Anubis, Hades or Aciel or from the Celtic pantheon, were powerful, mysterious and always a bit veiled.  Perhaps our current culture would find the myths of such ancient societies non-substantial and without resonance, yet I find the stories and characters are timeless and reflect our human nature.  The myths of our ancestors are full of the dilemma and consternation of our human condition. 

The human figure has been my vehicle for expression especially as a means to speak about our human condition.  Like Goya or Francis Bacon I have leaned toward the grotesque the unusual or other worldly.  I use the anthropomorphic figure as a metaphor to expose human frailty a connection to our base natures or animal instincts.


Cone 10 oxidation firing, Black Mtn sculpture clay, porcelain, metal, deer belt, leather, found objects
18” x 58” x 20”