Saturday, June 19, 2010

The sun is just

This is a cliché of course the young man explained to us in beautiful English as we stood in line, waiting for our bus to arrive at Estación Plaza Eliptica to take us to Toledo. He approved the dirty white gardeners hat David was wearing – he elaborated that in Spain they have a saying – the sun is just, it shines with the same cruelty relentlessness or lack of mercy on every one  - so a hat is definitely a good idea. 

wax torso approximately life size cast first in plaster and then ciment fondu

I worked on this piece for several months when I lived in Toronto, building up the wax over a wood, metal lathe, burlap and plaster core.
The idea for the torso was that of a pivot,  of the body moving around itself as in dance and specifically flamenco. Nevertheless while we were in Spain we didn’t leave ourselves enough time to take in any flamenco or bull fight. I was reading In Our Time by Hemingway while I was there , some of his stories describe the strange obsessive fascination this ancient and cruel ritual had for him.
I hope we can return to the south of Spain in late fall and take in some of what we missed this spring.
But not to complain - the time spent at incredible museums in Madrid and Barcelona swept us away!


  1. There's a great amount of expressionin this COhen, it's really something. The softness of it's appearence defies the hardness of the material - it's a great contrast!

    Should you get to return to Spain in the autumn and decide to see some flamenco then head to Jerez if you can (not far from Seville). It's the birthplace of flamenco as well as some amazing equestrain arts (ladies will dance flamenco with the horses - it's astonishing!). The backstreets are filled with tatty, unasuming doorways which lead to a whole other world of rhythm, passion and the best flamenco I've ever seen.

  2. Great movement in this piece!

    Listen to Caroline; she's so right about Jerez. What a birthplace it was! Of both flamenco and sherry (the word is a bastardization of Jerez). Seville is also a must; its cathedral is magnificent.

  3. Hi Marcia,

    Another magnificent torso. Man you are good. As for the Spanish life, you will go back. Just keep that thought open. You could go back and teach sculpture -- there's no one better at it than you. I'd love to see flamenco, but could forgo bullfights -- I just love animals too much. I think it's okay to edit experience.
    As for Flamenco watch the National Film Board movie Flamenco at 5:15 -- my client Pam was in it.

  4. Thank you Caroline! And thank you for this great tip of where to check out this marvelous dance form. I am excited to go there already!

  5. Thank you Sam Art Dog! I'll definitely check out Seville and sherry.
    I can see I am amongst Spanish enthusiasts. I love everything Spanish myself, right now – the language, the olive oil, the wine the marzipan, architecture, landscape, music – is it possible I might have to become a long term resident there? Ok, why not!

  6. Thank you Barbara. You know you are a role model to me when it comes to keeping my thoughts open. What an adventure it would be to teach sculpture there or what would you say to olive farming or soccer coaching even though I know zip about either.

  7. I can hear the music. This torso sings and dances beautifully.

    So glad that you had a good trip and will be able to go again in the fall.

  8. Thank you Melinda! I’m still very much a romantic and a teenager when it comes to European culture – I think it comes from growing up in Canada during a period of isolation in the provincial sense, being somewhat pretentious and not identifying with all things Canadian. My eyes were always directed towards other shores. It’s only in recent years that there has been a blossoming in Canadian arts and letters.
    So I hope we can in fact travel again in late fall.