An important traditional symbol in this artwork is the heart-line,
Represented as the central line which runs from the mouth to the
heart. According to traditional belief, the heart-line provides
a sense of balance and harmony between the environment and human
life. Whiteman, an Arapaho Indian, has re-introduced many traditional
images in his art.
The long wavy line cut into the steel represents the heart-line.
It is illuminated by a bright, powerful red neon light, which shines
through the body and divides the image in half. The hot-red glow
is like a vital life force. Whiteman says, "It's like a path or
the journey. No matter how many twists and turns are in that path
or journey, it lines up right in the middle at the end, with the
central portion of the heart."
Whiteman communicates the continuity of the traditions of his ancestors
through the gestures and stylization
of the figure. Arapaho traditions are based on harmony between man,
animal, and nature. This image is made of steel, a hard and solid
material, but appears to float or fly with the lightness of a spirit.
Several vertical lines hang from the left arm, suggesting water
and rain. The right hand is cupped as if to scoop up the harvest.
The centered heart-line provides the balance between what is given
to us by nature and what we take from the earth. As Whiteman explained,
"Everything is in balance with nature."
This sculpture was made from a new sheet of steel. Whiteman loosely
sketched the original design on the steel with chalk. He then cut
the design from the steel sheet using a plasma cutter, a tool similar
to a laser, which uses a beam of intense heat to cut. Whiteman "aged"
the steel through a rusting process in order to give the new steel
a more organic, natural look. He applied
a concentrated salt mixture which caused rusting. Whiteman also
broke up the smooth, even surface of the steel by deliberately cutting
the edges of the sculpture in a rough, uneven way.
motion of the body as a means of communication or expression.
pertaining to living organisms or something from the natural world.
In art, organic shapes are derived from natural forms.
ancient carving or inscription in a rock.
eliminates or exaggerates details of the subject based on a style
or pattern rather than nature.
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