The idea of the various passages or changes that we pass through in our lives instigated this work.  Labyrinths or mazes suggested paths and choices along with the questions and decisions living a life brings.  The four paintings on panels use the configuration of a maze or labyrinth that is abstracted and simplified to a rectangle or an octagonal spiral.

The drawings on paper, of which there are a total of twelve, deal with various symbolic substances I imagined placed on the pathways of the maze.  These substances represent various stages we pass through or certain attributes of those stages/passages.

I ultimately ended up constructing the rectangular maze/passage and covering its floor with the symbolic materials.  Among the materials spread underfoot in sequential segments of the passage are several tons of dirt, many linear feet of fresh flowers, several running feet of snakes (fifty-three, to be exact and life-like but made of plastic), a span of white feathers (with liquid tar handy on a nearby shelf for tar and feathering), a passage of fragile eggshells, an area covered with stripped bones (real), a bed of sharp five-inch nails with pink balloons resting on top of the nail spikes, banana peels, a stretch of bubble wrap (with a hammer available), and a segment covered with brown fur (this part also has fur on the low ceiling and walls, can be navigated only by crawling and creates a comforting, protected area). 

The drawings are based on the snakes, flowers, bubble wrap, bed of nails with balloons, and eggshells.  Some of the associations these materials call to mind are knowledge, mortality, surprises, pain and fragility – all aspects of passages in a lifetime.

Drawings, paintings and the constructed passageway floored with the materials above combine to create an installation that the viewer may actually experience and navigate.    Upon entering the passageway, visitors first travel along the dirt floor, meant to reflect childhood play and an experience of the world by crawling, they next enter (possible only by crouching and crawling) the enclosed, protected furry portion and finally emerge to walk upon the subsequent materials which at the end of the passage, end with bones and a mirror, to reflect our mortality. 

Margaret Keller

 

 

 

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