Untitled (spider)

 

I could never bring myself to name this piece, so I still just call it the spider. The piece is about our fears, especially our irrational fears. Arachnophobia is one of the best known and most understood phobias in the world, yet experts disagree on its root cause. A person suffering from severe arachnophobia can sometimes be overpowered by their fear of spiders. Sometimes, even a drawing of a spider or an object that resembles a spider can trigger a panic attack in especially acute cases. Approximately fifty percent of women and ten percent of men (in the west) are said to suffer from at least mild arachnophobia. This sculpture is not, however intended to torture those who fear spiders. I am using the imagery of a preposterously massive spider (with an Illuminated green dollar sign on its abdomen) to try and trigger a dialogue about fear itself. One of my personal greatest fears has always been a fear of finances. Sometimes I feel as though I dread financial failure the way an arachnophobe would fear being in the room with a seven-foot long black widow spider.
            Black widow spiders (Latrodectus Mactans) were of particular interest to me as I was searching for an appropriate symbol for an irrational fear. They are one of a very few species of spider that can actually be lethal, and they carry very distinct, even symbolic markings. Everyone I know, who has grown up in an area where they are common, knows to look for that distinct abdomen, with a red hourglass on its belly. (Incidentally, In Australia, the same species has blotchy red stripes down its back, instead of the hourglass on its belly, and is thusly called a “redback” instead of a black widow.) I particularly was intrigued by the way humans have anthropomorphized the markings of the spider. An hourglass, a symbol of time, might lead one to ponder mortality, which might not be a bad idea, faced with a possibly deadly spider. I sought to further appropriate that characteristic of the spider, to use the amplification of a phobia-object, and apply it to a different universally recognized symbol, and allow the viewer to contemplate what personal meaning that may bring to bear.

 

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