Judith Ann Moriarty

Bones of Truth

By - Jan 3rd, 2011 04:00 am
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Linda Wervey Vitamvas fashions “bones” from porcelain. Her work is featured in the Portrait Society Gallery’s Winter Chapel.

Big bones, small bones, bones with curves bleached white as porcelain, which is exactly what artist Linda Wervey Vitamvas used to shape them. Bones for sale throughout the annual Portrait Society Gallery event, aptly titled “Winter Chapel.” Each year an artist is invited to transform the PSG space into a self-styled chapel, to create a place for contemplation and creative thought. Put on your mittens and earmuffs and join in the opening reception on Gallery Night, January 21.

In Vitamvas’ Chapel of Bones, each piece, individually cast, will carry a seven-word message – personal, whimsical and otherwise – directly from the thoughts of the purchasers. One purchaser listed the names of his seven siblings; another selected a bone-shaped candle holder in memory of her mother.

Vitamvas and PSG’s Debra Brehmer (purveyor of items artful) will put the bones to use as elements in the chapel, one of several intimate spaces wending through her fifth floor space in the very popular Marshall Building.

Prior to writing this, I thought a lot about bones-as-symbols: the bones of the dreadful Holocaust, finger bones entombed as Catholic relics, bones stacked by Pol Pot during the Cambodia slaughters, bones entombed beneath slabs of marble and modest markers, bones from famines devastating humanity in China and Africa. I also thought about the piece of bone from my dad’s cremation thirty years ago, his earthly life reduced to ashes and a hunk of bone.

All else becomes memories.

Now imagine using bones as elements in the Winter Chapel: bones hung like icicles, bones on glass shelves, bones casting shadows on the gallery walls. Outside the room’s frosty east-facing windows, winter reigns; but inside the room, we face our certain mortality while gathering to consider loss and rebirth.

Hamlet spoke true when he held the hollow-eyed skull of poor Yorick, and like Hamlet, each bone will speak a language embodying the rhythm of our world… past, present and future. It’s an elegant concept (don’t you agree?) and it will be illuminating to experience this year’s Winter Chapel retreat.

To learn more, contact PSG Director Debra Brehmer at 414.870.9930 or debrabrehm@aol.com.

0 thoughts on “Bones of Truth”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Judith for this thoughtful and poetic preview. Here is a link to the Winter Chapel page on the gallery’s web site for those interested in learning more. http://portraitsocietyexhibitions.wordpress.com/winter-chapel-2011/ Bones are $30 and $40 and candle holders are $50. Please consider helping build this year’s chapel and being a part of this project!

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