Sheaves

WorkTitle
Sheaves
Year
1990
Materials
Hydrocal over Steel with Pigment, Wax, and Graphite
Dimensions
88" x 146" x 31"

"Sheaves (1990) depicts a bundle of long stems bundled within two supportive posts, like harvested stalks of grain. This work refers to the Greek myth of Demeter and Persephone: Demeter, the Greek Goddess of grain, so mourned her daughter Persephone, who had been abducted by Hades, god of the underworld, that the earth ceased to produce life. Zeus forced Persephone's abductor to return her to her mother on earth for spring, summer and fall each year. Sheaves's reference to motherhood and seasonal harvest suggests a coming to peace with mortality through acceptance of one's place in the natural cycles of life." George Melrod, Public Art Review, 1993

"As the myth implies, the mother desires to be a continued presence in her daughter's life. Thus, the story of Demeter and Persephone has significance and power for an artist who has experienced a gendered bonding, has faced her own mortality, and has conquered her fears." Dr. Joan M. Marter, Rituals of Demystification

"Unger's massive sculptures Sheaves and Pall Bearers include references to bodies torn asunder, limp, lifeless, or engorged. The surfaces are darkly expressionistic, suggesting links with the disturbing canvases of Chaim Soutine, or bloddy sides of beef in Francis Bacon's paintings. Surfaces come alive with blood crimson encrustations, or the deep blues and blacks of anguish and mourning." Dr. Joan M. Marter, Rituals of Demystification

"This powerful sculpture imaginatively conveys the essence of the cycle of life so beautifully expressed by the Greek myth." Judith Page, Sculpture Magazine, 1998

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