Rule of Three


Sky Cathedral

by Louise Nevelson

View an image of the artwork

We see a torched building, turned inside out. Squares and rectangles fuse to form a structural skeleton. Bricks and mortar are tarred by smoke, melted and misshapen with the heat. Window frames are fried to crumbling charcoal. Thin as cardboard, they bend and buckle, almost collapsing into a heap of cinders. Out of the ashes, nascent shapes begin to burgeon. An embryonic edifice emerges from the wasteland. The pipes of an organ breathe with the breeze. Stalactite columns of draping curtain quicken. Shoebox scaffolds become vertical mangers. Charred bark serves not as a coffin,
but a cradle.

Words by Elizabeth Brown

Praise to the mother of Jamaican art

by Lorna Goodison

View an image of the poet

The artist-mother of Lorna Goodison’s poem looks after not children, but the inanimate objects that she has formed, from her ‘teeth and nails’, and a ‘blunt blade’. Her artworks are referred to as her ‘babies’, with the bond between them as precious as familial love. This doting, sacrificial approach suggests a longing for human offspring, with the polished treasures acting as substitutes. They bring to mind cherished dolls, affectionately fed and groomed by their creator. Before she herself eats, she touches food to their ‘sealed lips’. This compassion was learned through ‘breaking hard rockstones’, tenderness attained through toil.

Words by Sophia Martin-Pavlou

One Breath is an Ocean for a Wooden Heart

by Lisa Bufano & Sonsherée Giles

View a still from a performance of the work

Two bodies writhe at the centre of a dark stage, paralleling each other in shape and movement. They slowly unfold, stretching out their limbs, which are extended by stilts fashioned in the style of table legs. As the performers rise, they remain attached at the head, and begin to arch and sway as though they are one being. They remain physically connected for most of the choreography, resembling various living creatures and inanimate objects, from gazelles to furniture. Their motion may appear to be animalistic at times, but light shines onto their backs, revealing the human anatomy in its toned and muscular form.

Words by Sophia Martin-Pavlou

More to discover

Sky Cathedral: Read more information about Sky the artwork on the Tate website. Watch a video introduction to the work by Arne Glimcher here.

Praise to the mother of Jamaican art: Read the poem on the BOMB Magazine website. Read a biography for Lorna Goodison here.

One Breath is an Ocean for a Wooden Heart: Watch a full performance here. The websites for Lisa Bufano and Sonsherée Giles are here and here, respectively.

Today's connection

Sky Cathedral, the stilts in One Breath and the sculptures in ‘Praise to the mother’ are all wooden, i.e. ligneous.

Question of the day

Which wood-related artworks would you recommend? Let us know on Facebook, Patreon, or Twitter.

Ideas for Wood Sculpture, an artwork by Henry Moore. (→)

– John Wadsworth, Silent Frame's Editor-in-Chief (via Patreon →)

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