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PHELAN MEEK Exhibition Proposal. Fertile Ground Medium: Mixed Media Size: Varied Date: 2007-2009. Fertile Ground.

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phelan meek exhibition proposal
PHELAN MEEKExhibition Proposal
  • Fertile Ground
    • Medium: Mixed Media
    • Size: Varied
    • Date: 2007-2009
fertile ground
Fertile Ground
  • All art is a journey but this show represents the evolution of the self of an artist and a woman. When I started fabricating sculpture, I worked in welded steel. I loved, and still do, the feeling of being able to do anything after learning how to cut and weld steel. The world was at my fingertips.
  • Around the same time this feeling took hold I began studying archeological evidence of woman centered cultures from thousands of years ago. This coupled with my background in psychology led me to imagine the female in a different way. My materials began shifting from steel to resin, plaster and glass and my pieces shifted from demonstrating the archeological woman to examining the female archetype.
  • What did it mean to be a woman? What was the historical basis for womanhood? What were the psychological underpinnings of being female?
  • My research and sense of womanhood historically and to the present was that her primary attribute was being connected to the Earth. Although this connection gave her strength, throughout relatively recent history she had been boxed in by perceptions and misperceptions. As a result women felt themselves fragile and breakable when in fact they were powerful due to their connection with earth, fertility and emotion. Hence, the title, Fertile Ground.
  • The pieces in this proposed show exemplify woman's connection to the earth, how women can turn seeming fragility into strength and how to discover the potency in female sensibility.
Madalena, A Tribute to Ivan LinsResin, crushed glass, bird nest, tree branches, Australian Banksia pods, encaustic on paper, wood. 33x28x7in., 2009
madalena a tribute to ivan lins
Madalena, A Tribute to Ivan Lins

Ivan Lins is a Brazilian singer/composer whose most

popular song is called “Madalena.” I love his music

so much that I have several of his albums loaded into

my mp3 player. One day as I stood in my studio with

the mp3 player plugged into my ears, “Madalena”

began to play and this piece began to appear in my

mind. Lins’ “Madalena” is a love song. My “Madalena”

is a love song to the beauty, fragility and strength of

woman through her connection to her self and to the


I Long for the Cardinal, RedResin, crushed glass, found objects, encaustic on paper, window. 24 x 34 in. 2009

Inside View

Outside View

i long for the cardinal red
I Long for the Cardinal, Red

After many failed attempts to become pregnant I had reached the end. This was my last time. After the embryo was implanted I stayed in bed for a week thinking this would help the embryo incubate. I was determined. As I looked out the window the following poem came to me:

I Long for the Cardinal, Red

A menage a trois of mourning doves

Fights on the ground amongst the dirt and seeds

Finches couple, chickadees acrobat and squirrels somersault on branches

But, I long for the Cardinal

On the fence across the yard

A flash




(The pregnancy was successful.)

Homage to a Fragile SelfResin, crushed glass, photo transfer, holy water fount, wood, paint. 33x28x7in. 2008
homage to a fragile self
Homage to a Fragile Self

As the torso made of resin and crushed glass came

out of the mold I realized that this thing that appeared

fragile was in fact strong and hard. This inspired me to

create a religious type of reliquary to display the torso as

It seemed that the strength inherent in fragility should

be honored in a prayerful way. This sense of the strength

that comes from being in being in touch with one’s fragility became a central theme in my work after completion of this piece.

a buddha is born every second of every day1
A Buddha is Born Every Second of Every Day

I believe that we all have the capacity for

truth and insight but that it is often socialized

out of us. This became apparent to me when

I would listen to my own child during her early

years ( and sometimes now in her adolescence)

and be blown away by her perceptions…so much

so that at one point I thought that she might be

a guru. At 26 months of age she excitedly asked

for a paper and pencil because she wanted to

write an inspirational story about the meaning of

life. I was terrified but in awe and wondered

what the future held in store for her. Her musings

continued. She talked about what it had been like

in the womb and remembered being stuck and that

someone had to get her out. These reflections by

my two year old led me to respect the truth within.

walkin my vortex back home
Walkin’ My Vortex Back Home

This set of works focuses on our connection with the

universe while at the same time we are connected to

the Earth. How better to connect with the Earth than

through our feet?

“Walkin’ My Vortex Back Home” is one of my favorites

because it is whimsical and profound at the same time.

It captures the vortex within and without, our relationship

with the universe and with ourselves.

family life
Family Life

Consider the vortex of family life. The whirlwind of activities,

emotion and caring. Again, feet as the anchor between the

vortex and the Earth.

Pied à TerreBurled maple slice, tree bark, Australian Banksia pods, plaster, paint, copper. 25x18x12in. 2008
pied terre
Pied à Terre

In French, Pied a Terre means … but it also means

“Feet on the Ground.” This piece which utilizes tree

bark and Australian Banksia pods as well as burled

maple exemplifies our connection with the Earth. We

are one with the Earth. We come from the Earth and

we go back to the Earth.

feet of glass yet firmly planted
Feet of Glass, Yet Firmly Planted

We are fragile, but have a relationship with the

Earth. We are grounded but fragile. We exist

in relation to the Earth and the universe.