Sculpture

My sculpture is inspired by my heritage as a Jewish Feminist and by 6,000 years of stories, traditions, ethics, humor, and values in my culture. Working with materials that are still recognizably made from trees, or are mostly recycled, repurposed, and sustainable, keeps me grounded and reminds me of my connection to this blue planet, which hosts us all.

 

  Schmita: a Covid response 2020

Our global environmental crisis has become increasingly clear. The period of seclusion created by the Covid 19 pandemic was like a Schmita, the ancient Jewish practice of allowing fields to lie fallow for one season every 7 years, to recover and to continue to produce for future generations. Covid allowed the earth to begin to recover a bit from the ravages of human excess.

In using the pine bark I have diverged from traditional methods which influenced me (see www.barkbasketsbyilee.com), to create my own forms. I am not Indigenous, and as a sculptor the material matters more to me than utility. Unlike the exquisite perfection and complexity of local Indigenous artists, I use torn pieces of bark and am pleased to show visible mending, because the earth needs mending and humans need mending, and hiding our brokenness prevents healing.

All the natural materials in this series are sustainably harvested, locally by the artist.

 

Series

 

 
 
Schmita 2

Schmita 2

Pine bark, maple wood, red osier dogwood, wood dye, waxed linen

17″ L x 10.5″ W x 6″ H

 
 
Schmita 3

Schmita 3

Pine bark, maple wood, root, red osier dogwood, wood dye, waxed linen

30”L x 15”W x 10”H

 
 
Schmita 4

Schmita 4

Pine bark, hardwood root, waxed linen

12″ L x 8″ W x 11″ H

 
 
Schmita 5

Schmita 5

Pine bark, mixed hardwoods and root, red osier dogwood, waxed linen

13”L x8”W x 5”H

 
 
Schmita 6

Schmita 6

Pine bark, maple wood, red osier dogwood, wood dye, waxed linen

14″ L x 14″ W x 9″ H

 
 
Schmita 7

Schmita 7

Pine bark, roots, red osier dogwood, waxed linen

13″ L x 8″ W x5″ H

 
 
Schmita 8

Schmita 8

Pine bark, maple. spruce roots, red osier dogwood, leather cord

14′ L x 9.5″ W x 5″ H

 
 

Tikvah: Still She Perseveres

Book with Pomegrante

2019

3.5’L x 4’H x 1’W

Mixed hardwoods, stains

How can we keep hope alive to greet the world, while remembering/honoring/grieving the fear and losses of the past? The rear of the head of this piece is a face of terror and grief. The horned head is about War.

Book with Pomegrante, detail

Photos by Jay York.

 

Origins of A People

Book with Pomegrante
Book with Pomegrante, detail

2019

45″W x 47″H x 23″D

Applewood, maple, mahogany, dyes.

Photos by Jay York.

 

Eye of the Beholder

Mask

2019

24″H x 4.5″D x 18″L

Felted wool, wood bark pecked by sapsucker birds, found objects.

Photos by Jay York.

Mask, detail
 

Lilith’s Nest

Bowl with Stick

2019

12″H x 9.5″D x 12″L

Felted merino wool, rhododendron, applewood, dye.

Photo by Jay York.

 

Genesis

Forest Birth

2018

29″W x 39″L x 5’H

maple stripped of bark, red osier dogwood, willow, birch, mixed roots,
winter bleached beech leaves, paper, stains, paint. Photos by Jay York.

Forest Birth, detail
 

Dragoness

Untitled, wood sculpture
 
Untitled, wood sculpture

7’W x 5.5’D x 6’H

red cedar and rhododendron, roofing tar

2018

 

Brief Sanctuary


Brief Sanctuary

Measurements: 5′ L x 4.5′ D x 6.5′ H

structural framework: sustainably harvested maple, apple, and ash wood, dye

2017

 

Forgiveness: Selichot


Offering

Measurements: 22″W x 24″H x 6″D

Mixed hard woods, fiber, gold leaf

2016

Selichot is a prayer for forgiveness, part of a series of rituals and actions at the beginning of the Jewish New Year, designed to encourage relationship mending on all levels. “Forgiveness: Selichot”, uses ribbons from the 2007 installation “Teshuvah” to create a small sculpture about the preciousness of relationships and about the generosity of spirit that is needed to keep them flourishing.

photo: Jay York

 

Offering

Offering

 

24″ W x 4″ D x 22″ High

sustainably harvested maple wood and dogwood, dyes, inks, thread, archival paper

2015

Visitors to the 2015 Maine Jewish Film Festival and to Art Kibbutz NY for the 2015 Shmita ARTFest in New York City, were invited to answer the following question: “WHAT ACT OF HEALING WILL YOU COMMIT TO AND OFFER TO YOUR CREATOR/ TO YOUR PLANET/ TO YOUR UNIVERSE?” Their answers are woven into the sculpture.

photo: Jay York

 

Deer with Ethnic Roots

Offering

approximately: 5’H x 4’W x 3’D

locally harvested wood, locally woven traditional MUONG cotton cloth.

This work was part of my 2015 ECOArt Residency at Muong Studio in Hoa Binh, Vietnam. It references the presence there, to this day, of an ancient culture of human beings on land that once, long ago, belonged to deer and other animals. In the American/Vietnam war much forest was ruined. As an American, I am deeply sad for this loss, and for the effects of chemical warfare on Vietnam and on the planet we now share, no longer as enemies, but as co-inhabitants, who want the land and its creatures to flourish for many generations to come. Photos by Long Hoàng

Offering

 

L’ Shanot: Change

L'Shanot: Change

7′ W x 4′ H x 2.5′ Deep

mixed local, sustainably harvested hardwood, stained

2013

Based on the Hebrew letter shin and its myriad meanings and symbolisms.

photos: Aaron Flacke

L'Shanot detail width=

 

Miriam’s Vessel

Miriam's Basket

willow in random weave

L 5′ x W 2.5′ x H 2′

2012

photos: Jay York

Miriam's Vessel

 

Dwelling Place framework

Sukkah

University of New England Gallery Garden 2012

Dimensions 9′ H x variable size walls
up to 14′ W x 15.5′ L

locally resourced mixed hardwood saplings

 

How Beautiful Are Thy Tents

Friendship II

mixed hardwoods, dye, mixed fiber

7.5′ H x 7′ W x 6.5′ D

2012

above photo: Jay York

 

Friendship II : #2 & #6

Friendship II

hardwoods; recycled plastic bags; cut, braided, bound

8′ L x 4′ W x 4′ H

2010 – 2011

Friendship II : #3 & #5


Friendship II

hardwoods; recycled plastic bags; cut, braided, bound

7′ L x 4′ W x 7′ H

2011

see also Public Art and Installation page

 

Basket Form I

Basket

Mixed woods and tree bark

42″ H x 54″‘ W x 46″‘ D

2009

 

Shall We Fight or Dance

Shall We Fight or Dance

 

Shall We Fight or Dance

Shall We Fight or Dance

Rhododentron, pine, yellow barberry, stains

h 5′ x 9’10” w x 4’6″ d

2008

top photo: David Gillis

bottom two photos: Aaron Flacke

 

Chairs

Chairs whisper to me; they evoke ideas and memories. Chairs shape inter-actions between people; they have their own power. Most of us have had a favorite chair somewhere in our lives. Each of these chairs was inspired by a found object or material.

Tree Chair

tree chair

This is functional sculpture, recreating the experience of sitting in a tree, bark under your fingers – a tangible connection to the earth.

mixed local hardwoods and resin

h 57″ w 33″ d 28″

2013

 

 The following four pieces represent stages in the life of the artist as a female.

Photographs by Jay York, unless otherwise specified.

Promise

flying chair

found chair, twigs, fiber, paint

h 31″ w 39″ d 40″

The hopes and power of Youth.

2006

‘mad’ housewife

mixed metals, found objects

h 39″ w 21″ d 21″

The experience of being a Young Adult wife in a society, which still does not believe in equality. Being seduced by shiny gadgets, which are supposed to shorten the work, and to somehow make up for the isolation and fatigue which, no matter how rewarding the partnership, often come with the role.

2005

 

 

Matron Warrior

Matron Warrior

wood, fiber, plaster, paint

h 70″ w 23″ d 25″

The myth of the ‘Maiden Warrior’ is often about idealized beauty. When the maiden spends her whole life actually fighting for justice, how do we think of her as she matures? Here she is, not quite ready to retire, prepared to fight if needed, enjoying a well earned rest in the meantime.

2005

Photo by the artist.

 

crone

tree chair

locally harvested oak, cherry, birch, walnut

h 51″ w 25″ d 23″

Wisdom, experience, self-confidence, and strength of the Elder.

2006

Family Dispossessed

Objects found at RR tracks near homeless encampment: wood, steel, roofing tar, resin

5’7″ h x approx. 4’w x 3’d

Part of a series inspired by people who have experienced homelessness. For history and process see “Kaddish for the Dispossessed” 2007