Thursday, December 10, 2009

Criss-crossing the Janus Bridge

The second most difficult part of forming an art collective is choosing a name.  Nothing sounds right until you've heard it a while, and it begins to build associations in your mind...then you start getting somewhere.

The image of the Janus head has been in our thoughts since the beginning of our collaboration...long before the concept of 'art collective' was ever put into words between us.  Janus is the Roman God of doorways, gates, and of beginnings and ending.  He is depicted as having two heads, facing in opposite directions because he had the power to see both the future and the past.

Janus was also a significant symbol for us since he also represents the transitions between the opposite sides he perceives.  Our work and our vision are two sides of the same coin, and we needed to bridge those two faces if we wanted this collaboration to be fruitful.

This didn't mean that "Janus Bridge" was a shoe-in.  There was talk about hourglasses and countless sketches of eyes...but we couldn't forget an early drawing Stephanie made of us as Janus, or my constant mentioning of the connection between the lone, flaming candles that appeared in her work and the stark power lines that repeated throughout my paintings.  Her emblem for inspiration and creative fire, the candle, was a traditional symbol that called us back to our connection to the past...and although my power lines were more modern and industrial, they were just as much about the enduring spark of the human spirit.

When we drew the utility pole and the candelabra together, as it appears at the top of the page, we saw two sides of the same energy, reaching out, but still linked.  This was the "Janus Bridge".

Janus Bridge is working hard on the new diptych...more to come...!


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