|Rise K Howell Acrylic on Board 92 cm x 122 cm|
Stairways are the spinal column of our living space. They embody the ups and downs of our everyday existence, a constant reminder that every endeavour is made up of incremental efforts. The stairs seem to provoke a strop in the resident four-year-old, and I can only conclude that between the hours of 4 and 6 p.m., they seem insurmountable. Some days, I quite concur.
Rise was informed by a visit to a garden-in-progress, and seeing the raw, stacked material for the stairs in place, it seemed an expression of longing and determination, a plan for the creation of a small paradise.
Stairs are all about aspiration and challenge.
It's a flight for a reason.
Building the staircase was what Mircea Eliade would call an Ascension rite, a consecrating and determining activity that sublimates a profane space into a sacred one. (I'm hoping you feel a garden is a sacred space, and you stay with me on this one.)
Stairs, Jung says, symbolize the process of psychic transformation in which the contents of the unconscious are brought into conscious awareness. The stairs are an expression of the paradoxical wish to achieve an ideal form within the framework of human existence. Of course, the stairs also mean people can reach the top of the garden.
Shamanic traditions hold the tree as the ladder to the heavens. So there it is. Even when I try to digress, it always comes back to trees.