Asolas: work-in-progress about quarantine
In early June, I began a new sculpture series with the working title, “Quarantine”. The title came from a painting that I worked on during March 2020. It pictures a figure with a cat, representing my experience of adjusting to strict isolation. That painting helped me survive the frustration and worry of those first months. I planned the sculpture with the same iconography, a lone figure and a cat, and kept the same title.
But at this point I noticed a tremendous number of other artists responding to the coronavirus with works entitled “Quarantine”. This was both funny and predictable. It pushed me to consider what personal aspects I wanted to address, with my series of five sculptures, and proved a fruitful investigation.
I chose to call the series “Asolas", meaning alone. As always, I started by looking at etymology. Asolas means alone, especially in the sense of undertaking a journey, task or adventure. I read that in archaic Irish (ancient Gaelic) the word solas meant moving toward the light. I also thought about solace, the English homonym for solas.
These definitions combined carry meaningful ideas and provide inspiration as I work. It's my solitary journey toward the light.
Top left: work in progress for Reading, the first in the Asolas series. Lifesize terracotta
Top right: partly assembled
Left below: beginning table assembly
Right below: wet clay work in progress
Preliminary sketches for Asolas: Reading:
Seated figure with book, cat, coffee, and flowers
Detail of sleeping cat with book