The Enfeoffment of Hasenpfeffer (version 4)


I like this idea of creating weathervanes, or mobiles out of wire. An artist I haven’t mentioned as an inspiration of mine—Alexander Calder—created mobiles out of metal and wire. He colored the vanes and panels at the ends of wires and rods bold colors. He was influenced by Joan Miro’s work, who, in turn, also filled in his broad, basic, abstract shapes with bold colors. And, yes, Miro is also an inspiration of mine.

In my imaginings of creating wire construct sculptures, I love the possibility of using the shadows they would cast on the ground as parts of the artwork. Like a disco ball for a dance floor, or a psychedelic animated projection playing behind a 60s rock band, I am fascinated by the employment of multi-media in art. But alas, my discouraged soul must plug away with jotting down these ideas in notebooks for now.

Here in this image, I am satisfied with the obtuse composition. What appears to be a burning bush off to the extreme left of the picture is a bold yellow form. Most of the rest of the picture is filled with purples and magentas. There is also a yellowish abstract manifestation showing up on the extreme lower right of the picture. The yellow from the bush and the yellow from the foliage off to the right are separated.

Bold colors, when separated like this on the picture plane, cause problems compositionally because they both vie for the viewer’s attention simultaneously and create a break in the flow of the eye’s path across the picture. The lines from the abstract wire construct create structured, organized pathways however, so that the eye can find a bridge with which to connect the overt disconnection. Moreover, I made the sure that the burning bush on the left was bigger and more dominant than the gallimaufry off to the lower right. This gives it a closer feel dimensionally to the viewer.

Some people have told me that this wire construct, reaching across and organizing the image’s visual properties, looks like a face, and perhaps there’s a hidden message in its symbology. I really was not intending any kind of covert message. I just have become fixated on drawing these basic wire construct designs. And, again, I’d like to, some day, make mobiles out of them.

Enfeoffment means the official deed by which a person was given land by a king under the feudal system of Europe of the Middle Ages in exchange for services. Hasenpfeffer is a dish made of rabbit meat. I learned of the word hasenpfeffer from watching a Bugs Bunny episode on the Loony Tunes cartoons. In that episode, Yosemite Sam is the cook for a king, and Bugs Bunny somehow becomes the target for Yosemite to make hasenpfeffer for the king. I suppose the face you may see in this image could associate with Bugs Bunny, or a rabbit, anyhow.

Really, the title of this piece could be re-worded as The Deed of a Rabbit. What would the deed of a rabbit be you may ask? We could ask Richard Adams, who wrote Watership Down, but he recently passed away. Watership Down is an adventure story about a group of rabbits forced to move off of their land, effectively becoming anthropomorphized animal refugees by land terraforming men. I highly recommend reading this book, as I found it to be extremely engaging when I was in middle school.

Rabbits are thought to be timid, easily scared creatures, but their powerful hind legs enable them to escape danger. But like Peter Rabbit, who liked to nibble on vegetables in farmers’ gardens, rabbits also have courage. They just are not ferocious beasts who scare other predators away. So I have an appreciation for rabbits as a symbol after reading Watership Down, and having the challenging experiences I had during my school years.


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January 1, 2017 · 6:45 am

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