The Meaning and Symbolism of the Jar Ladies Series
My art is an intuitive process. My early art was a soul journey, a path of self awareness and growth.
These Jar Ladies were created over a few decades, 1985 - 2003.
The Jar Ladies series is probably my most interesting and deeply symbolic of all my earlier work. The whimsical and mysterious depth to the images contain layers of rich meaning.
As with all my earlier art, the integration of the female form with nature forms is the constant theme running through them. I now understand that this theme of nature forms integrated with the female form is representative of my "true nature" and of my commitment to my spiritual journey for Truth and Self knowledge.
The symbolic imagery of this series reflect my early inner life and personal challenges as a woman from my generation growing up in the 50's and 60's. Compacting this with my childhood roles and conditioning had created a fertile ground for many hidden shadows. These unconscious shadows came through me as I opened to my intuitive creative process, their meaning unaware to me at the time. All I knew is that I trusted this intuitive energy to guide me deeply as a tool to understand myself and release what needed to come through into the light! The fascinating part for me is of the incredible wisdom of this invisible force flowing through me to create such meaningful images. I would simply open to the energy and let it flow through me, guiding my pen in hand.
Here is a breakdown of some of the symbolism;
1. Jars represent a safe confined space where there is just enough water to sustain life and it is a protection from the outside world. One can watch life from the inside looking out, rather than be "in their life". The limitations of this environment is extremely restrictive and the ladies represent aspects of myself that are emerging from this survival mode. All these ladies represent parts of me. The combining of nature forms with the female form represents growth and connection to my true nature. Living my truth, being natural.
3. In the first 2 - Jar Ladies Trees 1 & 2 - 1985 ; there is an ungrounded and disconnect to the images ; the seeds in a jar, the figures with the feet floating and the feet just touching the ground, the roots by the head and the roots in the water, separated from the rest of the figure, the half bodies. The flower emerging where the toe is touching the ground represents connecting to myself and life. As I do, a flower emerges, representing growth and potential. The spiritual path to my truth is represented by the head with the lotus in full bloom on the partial body represents the need to integrate this knowledge into the living experience.
4. Dancing Jar Ladies - 1986; This is the celebration of emerging from the jars, and the different aspects of myself with some hidden in the shadows and one dying with the more forward ones displaying joy and forward movement in their dance. There is the dark shadow of the background, where there are hidden repressed aspects (shadow) emerging for assimilation. This is the process of the psyche's growth.
5. Sleeping Jar Ladies - 1996; The outside world is a new dimension! It is clearly outside, separate from the Jar Ladies inside. They are immersed in water in their incubation in the jars, safe from the outside world. The world is a part of their picture now, it is a part of their scene but it is safe at night when life is quiet and still as they rest protected in their jars, being sustained by their limited life source - water.
6. Jar Ladies 5 - 2003 ; These Ladies are on the move, emerging from the jars with the world outside beckoning ,full of life and movement. This scene represents a meaningful embrace and opening to the world. A greater expansive life that is opening up is represented by the flowing river, trees, moon & stars. The ladies are progressing in their assimilation of the inner and outer world.