December 6th, 2012 – January 12th, 2013
Skoto Gallery is pleased to present Mother Earth, an exhibition of recent stoneware sculpture by the Egyptian-born Artist Sylvia Iskander. This will be her second solo show at the gallery. The artist will be present at the reception on Thursday, December 6th, 6-8pm.
Sylvia Iskander's recent work continues her exploration of aesthetics possibilities of clay as a ready medium combined with an inimitable ability to unite form, color, light and surfaces to create work of remarkable elegance and lyrical beauty. She exploits themes of memory, myth, history, and the passage of time through the filter of making art that evokes poetic intimacy and allows for the past to be continuously revealed through the present. For the artist, whose work is fed by a life long appreciation and wonder at the earth as a cradle for us all, working with clay gives her a connection to the earth, a remarkable sensitivity to nature and an awareness of the rhythm of the natural world.
Her work is firmly rooted in tradition and the modern with refined sensibilities that explore new aesthetics territories and openness to new influences. The power in Sylvia Iskander's work lies in her ability to reaffirm the expressive potentials and conceptual qualities of clay, an earth material that has remained largely left out of the purview of most artistic practice. She fuses a mastery of technique with deep emotional intensity and appreciation for the natural world as well as vivid imagination that simultaneously expresses concern for the entropy of our environment’s continual disintegration and regeneration. The visual resonance in her work is undeniable and aims to give voice to life-giving and nurturing aspects of Mother Earth.
Sylvia Iskander was born 1948 in Egypt and graduated with a degree in civil engineering from Cairo University in 1971 before moving to New York with her husband where she pursued a career in engineering for several years. Inspired by her mother, an artist, Sylvia developed an early appreciation and love of art which became an integral part of her life. In the years since moving to New York, Sylvia studied art at the National Academy of Design, New York University, Pelham Art Center and Westchester Art Workshop. Her focus for many years was oil painting before her interest gradually shifted to clay because of its malleability and maneuverability. She is a widely exhibited artist whose work is in several private and public collections. She is a member of several organizations including the Hudson River Potter, New Rochelle Art Association and the Mamaroneck Artist Guild.
Everything in nature bespeaks the mother. The sun is the mother and gives it its nourishment of heart; it never leaves the universe at night until it has put the earth to sleep to the song of the sea and the hymn of birds and brooks. And this earth is the mother of trees and flowers. It produces them, nurses them, and weans them. The trees and flowers become kind mothers of their great fruits and seeds. And the mother, the prototype of all existence, is the eternal spirit, full of beauty and love. - Khalil Gibran
Mother Earth is a common term used to personify nature and focus on its life-giving and nurturing aspects by representing it in the form of the mother. Archeological evidence from around the prehistoric world suggests that the Earth may have once been viewed or worshiped as a female deity. Ancient texts and mythologies support the idea that the primary goddesses were intimately associated with the earth. In world mythologies- Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Hindu, South American and many others- Mother Earth is personified as a goddess infusing the universe with life. One of the earliest representations of this motif is the Egyptian goddess Hathor who was sometimes depicted as a loving cow. In the Greek Mythology, Gaia (Earth) arose as the foundation of the gods of Olympus.In ancient Roman religion and myth Tellus or Terra Mater (Mother Earth) is a goddess of the earth. As for Hindus they worshiped Prithvi also known as Sri or Lakshmi (Mother Earth). In South America this role was given to Pachamama.
Our earth has been in existence for millions of years. It has sustained us and many other species, including fish, fowl, animals, insects, fauna and flora. Lately we keep hearing about how we are abusing our earth, whether it be by deforestation, emitting chemicals and noxious gases into the air, littering our lands with wasteful plastics and the list goes on and on. This inspired me to use my sculpture to pay homage to Mother Earth. I used clay from the earth to express myself by creating the different images in my art. It is natural to think of her as a nurturing, life -giving Mother so it is important for us to preserve our precious world for future generations. If I can in any way influence people to think about all this through my art I will be happy I made a difference.