Significance of Spirals

Ad Mom’s Coil, 2007 Etching with chine collé 
I have voiced it before that VTS touring style offers fringe benefits both to museum visitors as well as tour guides. I was quite keen to start my 2012 innings with a  visit to Danforth and thanks to Kendra (our museum's education coordinator), opportunity seemed  right around the corner. I was quite excited upon learning that I can do a Public tour on January 7th for our museum's esteemed visitors. I visited museum in advance to jot down visual clues and take a mental note of salient masterpieces in Rhoda Rosenberg's gallery.

As the tour commenced, we asked all five visitors to spend a minute or two in gallery and observe keenly. I was pleasantly surprised upon finding that all of them were drawn towards an artwork titled "Mom’s Coil, 2007". Following were some of the answers I received upon probing them with a barrage of questions:

  • What do you see in this artwork? Threads, Rope, Wool, Coil, Spiral.
  • How about the surface? Rough, Corrugated, Uneven, 3D like.
  • How does it make you feel? Gloomy, Confused, Disappointed, Sad.
  • What is artist trying to portray? Connections, Perplexed-ness, Blackhole.
Thanks for VTS style questions, within 3-4 minutes as a group we started analyzing the artwork together trying our best to ascertain what artist is depicting and why! Interestingly Dan (an elderly gentleman in our group) said the artwork was all about now omnipresent SPIRALS and we decided to exchange some ideas on what Spirals signify in real world. In brainstorming session that followed for next 20 minutes, here were some interesting observations made by group:
  • Fundamentally all SPIRALS have a fixed central point from which rest of the spiral emanates farther away.
  • What makes viewing spirals engaging, is that one's eyes are drawn towards the inside-out or outside-in  curliness of the spiral. But most spirals appear aesthetic to naked eye.
  • Unlike other geometric shapes, spirals seem to be fluid (instead of static), in a state of dynamism.
  • In Ancient Greek culture, spiral symbol signified INFINITY and a state of constant motion.
  • In Ancient Celtics culture, spirals indicated birth,  growth and never ending expansion.
  • Leonardo-da Vinci is known to have filled his notebook with observations about nautilus shell spirals. These observations became basis for several of his masterpieces. 
  • The organic spiral seems to represent coiled-up energy waiting to be applied in appropriate endeavor.
  • Spirals certainly represent connected-ness. Even our universe is depicted by a big Spiral and so are Black holes and galaxies. 
  • The mother of all spirals - the Golden Spiral and its applications in nature (seeds packing inside a sunflower) are truly mesmerizing indeed.
As we wrapped up the discussion about the artwork, I briefed the group about Rhoda Rosenberg's bio and salient details of the exhibit. With that the group appreciated Rhoda's work even more and as we moved onto next gallery, we felt enriched (learning facts about spirals), engaged (stimulating discussion) and alive! Do mark your calendars and come visit Danforth this winter for exciting art events, interesting artist talks & our rewarding art classes-details here.
[Image - Rhoda Rosenberg]
"The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection"~Michelangelo

1 comment:

s k gupta said...

Spirals provide scope for infinite possibility for interpretations.
On top of it, it is found everywhere in abundance as depicted in the blog.
It is most fascinating & possess a universal appeal.
To me, it represents energy in abundance.
There are electrons,who now prefer circular motion instead of age old practice of jumping fron one orbit to another on acquisition of higher level of energy.
Most interestinf part is The Centre of Spiral. Though it watches the action cheerfully, it remains in a state of dynamic inertia.
On second thought, it also depicts increasing circle of influence as time passes.
Most interesting & thought provoking blog.