WANNABEs: Portraits of an Imagined History (2014)

The long faded life of the modern child in the postmodern age.

What is youth if not spent imagining a self of the infinitely possible? At a time of limits and smallness, as children we fantasize the ideal and the “BIG”. We construct ourselves unwittingly – faced with exposure, circumstances, challenges, assumptions, opportunities. Time conflates a lived history- a complex mixture of the imagined and the practical; a collision of our own intentions with the intentions and demands of the world around us. We are but a version of who we might have been. Gradually, or sometimes abruptly, we leave behind a naïve and hopeful version of ‘us’ as we once were and once imagined ourselves.

Asked of people who are known to me, WANNABEs begins with the simple question “who did you want to be when you were a child?” and then offers up a transformed self. The model personified as hero chooses pose and period. Together we construct a new image. These portraits explore a lost and quietly surprising history, posing questions about whom we idealized and its link to who we became.

WANNABEs: Portraits of an Imagined History harkens back to a time of the childhood fantasy. This work has evolved from my ongoing exploration of the iconic. Where as Full Circle explored the realities of postmodern life bumping up against the history of “family” as institution, Mother Earth explored the ideals of earth as influenced by the reality of industrial man, and Once Upon an I Con focused on the reciprocal influences of our cultural stories on the individual, WANNABEs examines childhood icons and their influence on the psyche.

These little sculptures are simultaneously just fun little beings perfect in their totality, and they are also a study in contraries: past/present, objective/subjective, fantasy/ reality, art/toy, precious/disposable, serious/ playful, public/private, young/old, individual/ collective, iconic/ordinary and so on. I wonder, just in our very being, aren’t we all a study in contraries?

Jane Hook

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You may ask…or I imagine you to ask …who did I want to be?…for me it was a tossup – As a junior tennis player, I wanted to be the iconic Billie Jean King for her tennis prowess and her ‘I can meet any challenge and am as good as any man attitude’; I was also drawn to the obscure- Scooby Do’s reliable Velma Dinkley, the nerdy group member who usually solved the mystery (and helped Scooby when he is afraid). I grew up to spend half of my life as a psychotherapist listening, challenging social norms and helping people explore and resolve their struggles…and the other half WANNABEing a sculptor with my own ambivalent sturdy voice.