Laura Meyer holds an MFA in Painting from California State University, Los Angeles, and a PhD in Art History from UCLA. She teaches art history and art theory at Fresno State University.
Lately I find myself intrigued by the ambiguity of objects that hang suspended between heaven and earth: ripe fruit, drifting clouds, the sword of Damocles, the hanged man. Mixed Blessings features two large suspended mobile sculptures, each measuring 15-20 feet in diameter.
I began working on the first mobile, Constellation, three or four years ago, when I received a gift of antique dolls made of stitched leather and sawdust stuffing. Around the same time, I began to face up to my personal history of childhood abuse and neglect. The dolls became a vehicle for visualizing the suffering I had tried for so many years to push out of consciousness. I’ve heard it said that when we bury feelings, we bury them alive. The dolls are both dead and alive, the same way I felt inside. It was terrifically satisfying to disinter them and make them into something that lives and moves in the shared world of visual reality.
The initial concept for the second mobile, Mixed Blessings, emerged from my desire to release the inner weight of burdens too heavy to bear on my own. Using paper maché, a simple, lightweight, yet surprisingly durable medium, I began creating casts of boulders in my front yard. Several friends helped me start the first boulder, and the process became a vehicle for sharing childhood loss. Smoothing paste-soaked strips of paper over granite felt like bandaging a wounded animal. Finally, I hoisted the boulders aloft, hoping they might float like clouds. I wish I could say they’re all safely airborne, but sometimes they still threaten to crush me.
June 1, 2016