Current Show • March 5-28, 2020
Searching for the Feathers of Icarus
Opening / Amherst Arts Night Plus: First Thursday, March 5 5-8:00 pm
Forum / Artists In Community: Third Thursday, March 19 7:30 pm
In an installation that includes large oil paintings and fabric sculpture, and combines both early and recent work, Constance Hamilton draws inspiration from ancient Greek mythology to reflect, both literally and abstractly, on the story of Daedalus and Icarus.
Daedalus and his son, Icarus, were imprisoned by King Minos of Crete in the Labyrinth, a maze that Daedalus himself had designed to confine a half-man, half-bull monster, the Minotaur. Daedalus was determined to escape. He built large wings for himself and his son, using wax to attach feathers to wooden frames. Along with lessons in wielding his wings, Icarus received a stern warning from his father: flying close to the sun would melt the wax and destroy his wings. But once in the air, Icarus was swept up by the thrill of flying and ignored his father’s warning. As he soared ever closer to the heat of the sun, the wax on his wings melted, the feathers fluttered away, and Icarus fell into the sea and drowned.
Hamilton notes that the individual pieces of the installation—paintings, the sail of a small boat, a feather, a poem, some early works—all came together as she pondered the sense of hope and subsequent loss, the sorrow and the mystery of this story.
“In this show, I am concentrating on Daedalus and reflecting on how it might have been for him, from the time when he was trapped in the Labyrinth, to working with the feathers, to the melting of the wax and the loss of Icarus,” she explains. “Did he search for the feathers of Icarus? Did he stay by the water’s edge? How did he continue his life after such a loss?”
At an Artists in Community Forum on Thursday, March 19, at 7:30 pm, Hamilton will lead a conversation about mythology and how it affects our lives and helps us find meaning and understanding as the creative process reveals itself. This program is supported in part by a grant from the Amherst Cultural Council, a local agency, which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.
VIDEO: Pictures at an Exhibition: Video Interview with Constance Hamilton
DAILY HAMPSHIRE GAZETTE: Art, demystified: ‘Pictures at an exhibition’ features TV interviews with artists in Amherst (featuring Constance Hamilton)
FLICKR: Additional images
Constance Hamilton's website