Emanuel H. Enriquez's Master's Thesis

Bowling Green State University

Masters of Fine Arts - Spring 2000


In The Passages of Time


When I started my graduate degree in sculpture the primary objective was to improve my skills in stone carving. Through the broader scope of my graduate school experience, I have come to realize the importance of the message or essence of my work and how it relates to my innermost thoughts. Lately, I find myself reflecting on my past and the transitions I have been going through. The meaning of how my life mirrors not only in what I have to offer as an artist, but also my contributions to our society and the direction of my personal life. The options and the possible directions for my work have been increased greatly with my recent retirement. It has given my freedom to reflect on the meaning of my life, the opportunity to improve my artwork, and give back to the community from my accumulated experiences.


Thoughts of my past have inspired the title of my recent series of sculptures, "In the Passage of Time", which I believe is the quintessence of the way I view my existence now. I realize this is not an entirely original thought, but it is also my personal experience. Only after reaching a certain point in life does one give serious thought to one's past and how it has molded the present. Realizing that one of the three most intense feelings in my life have involved women, the love and closeness of my mother and sisters, the death of my baby sister, and the women with whom I have shared my personal life, I have come to think of women in a broader view. It is my belief that the women play the strongest role in nurturing and holding the family and society together. It is because of this commitment and loyalty to the family that I have chosen women as the subject of my sculptures.


Although much of the earlier work exhibited a high degree of femininity in regard to the contour, shape and form, it was too abstracted to accurately represent the context of my artistic concern. Therefore, for my thesis exhibit I chose a more naturalistic format as a more specific means of interpreting and representing my feelings and beliefs about women. The sculptures, although frozen in stone appear to have been caught in the act of movement, giving a sense of realism that compels the viewer to touch and relate to the work. For example, Mayan Madonna is sitting in a familiar pose, depicting the love and affection a mother has for her child. However, wanting to go beyond the obvious and deeper into the strength of the mother herself with less emphasis on the baby. I sculpted the mother oversized, not in a Reuben's soft, fleshy style, but in a solid, stronger frame, broadening the shoulders and accentuating the muscles. The hair is pulled back in a neat, but intricate bun does not obstruct the shoulders. Continuing in the overall strength, I broadened the hips to give her a solid sitting form. The base and sculpture are one piece that roughly resembles a pyramid, creating a metaphor for strength and stability.


The Temptress, a reclining female sculpture is oversized, yet sensuous and strong. The hip at the center is elevated to accent the sexuality, and again forms the pyramid shape. To balance this strong effect, the leg bends up and blocks the full frontal view. At the upper part of the body the hand holds a vessel, while the face has a sublime look. The back is simplified and flows with both the limbs of the female and the serpent it reclines on. The purposeful use and implication of the biblical Eve reclining on the serpent in addition to substituting the vessel for an apple, symbolizes the acceptance of the weakness and faults in my life. Temptation gives in to overindulgence and debauchery, which I believe is the continuation in mankind.


The sculpture, Anima (Latin: soul), the standing sculpture depicts the fortitude I see in women; both in regard to their families and the obstacles they face in society. In Anima, although the mother carries an ambiguous bundle on her back, either a baby or provisions, she is still stepping forward while raising her skirt to do so. The skirt itself is a symbol of bondage and servitude in some societies. The woman in the sculpture moves forward with determination as she turns her head to give a glance behind her. The base and flowing blanket could be interpreted as a cloud, reminiscent of the Renaissance style of depicting holy figures. This gives the sculpture a lofty, reverent affect.

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