Green Men seem apt for COVID days.
John M.T. Seitzer with his wife Lynne (featured in the April 18 Art Spot) own Joy to the Wind Gallery. For more than 20 years, they have filled their gallery walls with their own eclectic art: seascapes and abstractions, bird portraits and genre scenes; one year, John created an entire exhibition comprised of appropriated master works.
Then came the Green Men.
“The first one appeared very naturally a few months ago, and has been followed by many others in quick succession,” says John, who has now made dozens of these playful pieces.
That the Green Men emerged at the same time as the onset of COVID-19 seems no coincidence. The doubts, disorientation, and anxieties that have come with the pandemic demand some sort of antidote; this project has been just that for him. “Creating these three-dimensional pieces has been cathartic,” he observes.
John has not only found the meditative practice of making the sculptural objects centering, but he also finds layers of meaning in the Green Men.
“In Celtic folklore, the Green Man is associated with rebirth, representing the cycle of growth every spring,” John notes. “And these Green Men are even more ‘green’ as they are created from cast-off materials. I love recycling and repurposing things that others may not see potential in.”
John makes his Green Men first thing in the morning. Over the years, he has amassed odd and sundry things (“treasures”) from thrift stores, tag sales, and recycling centers—material from which to create assemblage sculpture. “After a somewhat random selection from my collected materials, I compose, shape, design, assemble, and reassemble them,” he says.
Each studio session becomes an upbeat jumpstart to another day in a pandemic world.
“I hope they will take their place in other people’s homes and bring comfort and solace there,” he says. “With the time we have just experienced in isolation, it seems as if a little renewal might be in order for all of us!”
Green Men seem—indeed—an apt visitation for COVID days.
John and Lynne’s art can be seen by appointment at Joy to the Wind Gallery (soon launching its new website), and the Green Men will be on display July 3, 2pm to 4pm, at an outdoor open house at the gallery.