Magdolene Dykstra

34 Faces

April 4 – 28, 2013

The world is jammed with pain, need, and callousness. Even though there are faint glimmers of light, my hope is very fragile. The more I learn, see, and experience, the more precarious it becomes. Karen Louise Fletcher referred to “the dilemma of the spirit incarnate”(1.). Ann Lamott says that we are not humans in a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings in a human experience (2.). My work shows snap shots of this conflicted existence. My characters show our hurt, our depravity, and our brokenness. This baggage weighs us down, and ages us beyond our years, shown in the figures’ tired features. My figures are enveloped so that only their expressive faces can be seen. This references the Ancient Egyptian tradition of preparing canopic jars as part of a lengthy preparation for the after-life. These trapped figures also refer to the concept of our spirits being ensnared in corrupted physical forms. Each character develops from my interactions with the people around me. I am drawn to older faces that bear the marks of experience. To quote Lamott again, “the older ones all looked like God”(2.). If we are tired of our iniquity, God must be even more so.

Even though our race seems pathetically broken, there are occasional glimpses of hope. God has not left us. I believe that He suffers with us, but we are deaf and blind to His presence. I manifest this hope through the care and detail I invest in each individual character. Even though each character has dangerous secrets, each one has an element of beauty.

(1.) Karen Louise Fletcher as quoted in 500 Figures in Clay, Lark Books 2004.
(2.) Lamott, Anne. Plan B. New York, Riverhead Books: 2005.