Travertine. 1988. 24.5″ high with base. Private collection.
Lynne was my first commission. Our agreement specified no subject matter at all. I was simply to carve a sculpture in stone for her. We selected the stone together – – a piece of travertine from Texas as I remember. As I came to know my client better, what could have been anything at all turned into her portrait.
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That the real Lynn was beautiful and open-hearted was transparent. Anyone could see it and most people did. But she had a well-practiced habit of denying her beauty, softness, and femininity and especially her big heart and openness. She presented a tougher and more armoured stance to the world, and for that reason alone she fascinated me. I wanted to produce a mirror for her to look into every day and see what the rest of us saw in her. I wanted the sculpture to help her cherish and nourish those qualities and allow them to flower, even while she exercised her other strengths.
Once that vision of Lynne clarified in my mind, she didn’t see the stone again until I unveiled it in her living room.
With no talking at all in the room, Lynne explored Lynne visually for several minutes, from various distances and directions, then explored its contours with her hands and fingers as she moved closer. I got to watch her ‘get’ what I had tried to accomplish. She turned, acknowledged my silent message with a silent smile and quick nod of acknowledgment, then we moved on into the rest of the event.
To observe Lynn experience Lynn for the first time, and see her realize that it was her portrait, was incredible! I felt so, so privileged to be there and I still do. What a thrill!
Photo by Stuart Dee