the book of creation bärbel ullrich  
Artist's Statement 2017
 

To symbolically suggest a sense of spirituality, time, movement and flux in my work, I have created works in series of seven.

The number seven is a particularly meaningful number for folkloric research. One implication is that it connotes the properties of the soul combining earthly elements with spirituality. The properties are fire, which animates; earth, which gives the sense of feeling, water, which gives speech; air, which gives taste; mist, which gives sight; flowers, which give hearing; and the south wind, which gives smelling. Hence the seven senses are animation, feeling, speech, taste, sight, hearing and smelling.

The number seven also represents, for me, the four compass points, looking up (sky⁄‘heaven’) and looking down (earth) and the centre, the soul/spirit. I have also noted that the number seven has many references in the Bible. There it is described as the number of completeness and perfection, both physical and spiritual. I would interpret it as the embodiment of the feminine earth–bound spirit and the interconnectedness of all things rather than a ‘product’ of the creation of a celestial male deity.

Seven is also a significant symbol in Buddhist art and iconography. It is the seven steps which take the Buddha to the summit of the world. “I am the highest in the world”, refers to the Budda's transcendence of space. He has, in effect, reached the “summit of the world”, by mounting the seven cosmic stories that correspond, as we know, to the seven planetary heavens.

Also, there are seven colours of the rainbow — red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. It represents magnetic energy and invisible forces. The rainbow as seen from the sky looking down is a circle, it is a symbol that makes visible the hidden energies that stir earth and animals to fertility.

I have also used cloth, stitching, binding and knotting in my work as it contains the symbolism of mending and healing. It also evokes magical connotations. The thread or the cord in mythology symbolises the cosmic principle that unites all things and also the support, the power and the divine law that hold the universe together. In many countries the ‘thread of life’ symbolises human destiny. The washing of the cloth is a symbol for cleansing and purification of the entire bearing of the psyche.

I have used stitching and binding as a visual devise, not only in the textile works, but also on paper and binding the pages of my artists books. Throughout these books is the use of cloth and stitching to not only bind the books but to create extra layers of transparency between the pages.

The idea of nature being a thread or a web which binds, ties and attaches us together, is a good metaphor for our future and needed relationship to the land.

 

a series of 7 mixed–media, sticks and print on calico and muslin
3.5m variable x 1.8m
 
all works are for sale and reasonably priced
please contact the artist – barbel@barbelullrich.com.au