Andrea Olmstead

Ascendancy

stoneware

15"H x 13"W x 9.5"D

Price:

2000

In Ascendancy, a mother is precariously balanced on top of two fighting alligators as she struggles to protect her children. I researched Bernini?s Rape of Persephone for this sculpture because I am interested in its dynamic movement and the story of Persephone?s attempt for freedom from her captor. In Ascendancy, the mother has ascended the alligators. Her infant is clasped into her, hands gripping her chest. For the toddler I was inspired by Kathe Kollwitz?s Death and Woman. Kollwitz expresses the vulnerability of life, and death?s wrenching separation of mother and child. However, in my sculpture the daughter has a strong grip on her mother?s arm and she is climbing up towards the top.
My subject matter has always been the plight of young girls and the challenges they face becoming women. Whether surviving trauma, such as sexual assault, physical or mental abuse, discrimination, sexualization or objectification, growing up female is fraught with danger. Women are vulnerable. However, we are also resilient, fierce, and courageous.
After becoming a mother, I felt a similar deep-rooted fear and vulnerability for my own children?s safety, wherever danger might come from. However, I also began to recognize a primal fury in myself to protect my children that matched the ferociousness of any beast. I believe this strength is not something new brought on by having children. It?s an inherent power unburied and rediscovered that all women carry.
Although my sculpture is narrative and influenced by my own experiences growing up in Florida, it is meant to represent all women as they ascend obstacles in this world.