Tuesday, April 16, 2013

NEW ART Large Pictures

Click on image to enlarge

The studio with a few of the latest pieces.

Inspirations and Wanderings: The Art of Jerry Wennstrom 
 A film by Nanda Currant

The Intuitive
Carved cedar, found and altered objects, 7'tall

"The Intuitive" - in the beginning

Chasing Carrots
"Chasing Carrots" commissioned by Pam Schell (pictured with Jerry)
An interactive art piece created for a new sculpture park  in Langley, WA. 
See YouTube video  by Ross Chapin of the piece in action- HERE

Visiting with activist, Grethe Cammermeyer and artist Dianne Divlbest when "Chasing Carrots" was in-progress. (photo by Frank Rose)

Chasing Carrots 

Heron Feeding its Young

Watch HERE on YouTube

"A Day at the Beach"
8' tall, carved cedar, found and altered objects.

The Mask that flips up to reveal the face.

With mask up.

Inner face

  Turning the crank on the box at her side  offers a surprise.

Video - Turning the crank.

Beginning with an 8 foot log.

 "Letters From the Moon" 

"Letters From the Moon" 
 8' high, carved cedar, metal, found and altered objects.


In the beginning...

" Cellphone Ascetic"
6' tall, carved cedar, paint, found and altered objects.

Museo Gallery Showing
(photo by Susan Scott)


"Wild Ride"

Carved cedar, sea turtle shell, skull, metal, glass balls, rope, moss. (Photos by Ed Serveringhaus)

Museo Gallery Showing
(photo by Susan Scott)

looking down

In progress


"The Four Elements" 

Water, Fire, Earth & Air


 7' tall, carved cedar, paint, found and altered objects.

3 of the 4 Elements
(Masks closed)

 Masks open (inner face)


 Mask  (closed) 


Inner Face (mask open)


(see YouTube videos below)
Outer Face 7' tall (mask closed)

Outer Mask (metal)
Inner Face #1 (with mask open) 

 #1 (carved cedar)

     Inner Face #2

#2 (carved cedar)



In the beginning...


7ft 5in X 3ft Carved Cedar , Nylon, Paint




Dale Wilson in the Gallery

Click on the image to see it all.

"Faces of Eve"


 Cylinder containing  4-faces

Outer Door detail

 Outer Door detail

Outer door open, showing inner figure.

 Image on the back of outer door.

 Inner Figure Detail

 Inner Figure detail

 Opening the "love" locket around the neck of the inner figure sets the copper cylinder slowly spinning, revealing the 4-faces of Eve. Each of the faces light up as they come around to the front.

  Cylinder slowly turning. The painted faces are situated behind a veil.

 Primary sculpted face #1

 Painted face #2
(the 3 painted faces are seen through a veil)

 Face #3

Face #4

Click on the image to see it all.

Maiden Flight
(Queen Bee)
(Click images to enlarge)Carved Cedar & Hive Boxes (7' x 3')
The outer box housing the Queen Bee setting off on her maiden flight is made of several colorful old bee hive boxes that still smell of honey.

In the beginning...

Side View

Face of the Queen


Lower section

The Queen's Stinger
(stabilizing device below)

The bees that died over the summer have been placed
in the two brass containers situated on the "wings" of the art piece.

Nurse Log
(Click images to enlarge)Outer Face & Inner Face Emerging
Completed May 2011 - (7' x 3')
Read Article - "NURSE LOG"
(Nurse log)

Outer Face

Outer Face


Inner Face Emerging

Inner Face

Middle Body (mossy interior of log)


Lower Legs

Clyde's Emerson
(Completed 2009)

click on images to enlargeClyde's Emerson 9' tall (closed & open)
Cedar, a 50s Emerson TV, metal, electronic components

The multiple images of a zoetrope, installed inside of a 1950's Emerson TV, revolve around a still Buddha figure in the center. Visually held in placed by a pair of strobe lights, the images give the appearance of a single animated face, changing from life to death to life again.

Replicated visual effect of the zoetrope(Video created by Carol wright)

Detail (exterior)
Pulling the lever on the right activates the zoetrope & strobe within the TV

Detail (exterior)

Detail (exterior)

click on images to enlarge
Detail (interior)

Detail (interior)

Turtle shell face of interior figure
(features enhanced with oil paint)

Detail (Interior)

Detail (interior)

Feminine Balance

Click on Images to Enlarge
Feminine Balance




Detail (Exterior)


Opening Handle

Opening to Dark Feminine

Click on Images to Enlarge
Dark Feminine (Interior)



Dark Feminine Eyes (Interior)

Lower Body (Dark Feminine)


Detail, Womb (Dark Feminine)

Watch the videos on a more centered screen HERE on YouTube

Watch on YouTube HERE

Just Art: Jerry Wennstrom
Watch on YouTube HERE 
Click on Images to Enlarge Outer figure (Anima 8ft)

The Story:
I found a large 4 X 8 foot cedar sign at the recycle center here on Whidbey Island. Deeply carved in the face of the sign were the words, "Animal Clinic." With the sign lying face down I drew three six-foot figures, arranging them in the most efficient way to get the most use out of the large slab of cedar. I had cut out 2 of the figures and was cutting the third when the phone rang.
 It was my first love from 30 years ago! She had discovered and read my book and saw the Parabola documentary made about my art and life and decided to look me up after all of these years. I was amazed that she called and we had a lovely conversation. After I hung up the phone I finished cutting out the last figure and turned it over. Situated perfectly, the full length of the figure was the word "ANIMA." For anyone who doesn't know the meaning of anima, it is a Jungian term. It represents a man's inner feminine -- something he often projects (particularly with first love) onto a woman. I had just spoken on the phone with my first projected anima! I created an entire art piece out of this small poetic event, incorporating the ANIMA figure and another of the cedar figures I cut out that day.

About the Piece:
The Sacred Marriage has 3 layers. The anima figure is on the first, outer layer. It is 6 feet tall and opens like a door. This figure is that of a woman with her eyes closed and her focus is inward. There is a carved snake that faces upwards on the lower part of her body. On the back side of this figure, carved deeply into the wood, is the word ANIMA. You can see the large, carved word when the door/figure is swung open.

The next layer of the piece is a 6-foot animus figure and it is set deep inside the box. This figure has its eyes open and the snake on the lower part of his body faces downward. The animus figure also has a smaller, carved figure ("Third Body") set into a brass oval in the mid-section of its body. The smaller figure has bones, sculls and other symbolic items hanging from its neck.

The head of the larger figure is hinged just below the neck and folds down to reveal the third layer of the piece. This layer is a life size painting I call The Union of Opposites. It represents the place where the Anima and Animus come together to form The Sacred Marriage.

Click on Images to Enlarge
Inner figure (Animus)

Third Body (Detail)

Inner figure with head folded down revealing "Union of Opposites"

Close-up - Union of Opposites

Click on Images to Enlarge

Union of Opposites
"Union of Opposites" was used for the cover of Carolyn North's book "Ecstatic Relations"

Alaska Wellness Magazine


Sacred Wound
Sacred Wound exterior (7ft)

The orange colored outer shell of The Sacred Wound is made from the hood of a 1941 Case tractor. The circular hole and center seam of the hood were cut with a torch to form the blackened edged double doors. There is a full cedar figure standing behind the doors. When the outer doors are closed the dimly lit face of the inner figure can be seen through the circular hole that has been cut into the tractor hood.

Under the left hand of the figure is a glowing blue light. The glow shines through the fingers of the hand covering the "wound." The doors and the figure have been installed into the burned-out hollow of a fallen Cedar tree. The tree bark has been left on the outer surface of the sides and back of the piece. The topknot and long hair are made from unraveled black and orange rope.

Click on images to enlarge

Inner figure

Head inner figure

Hand with blue light behind it

Base with serpent

The Alchemist

Upper Face is a door

One of 2 Side Faces
on the upper section of the piece.

Thurning the glass chrystal in the hand
opens the upper face/door.

When the door is opened the inner face
comes out, looks around and returns back inside.

Mid Section

Steam Engine

Steam exhaust comes out of the mouth
of the carved face

The skull plaque opens to light a burner that
heats the boiler to power the seam engine.

Lower Section
Walking Through
 Click on Images to Enlarge
Walking Through (closed)

Walking Through is 8 feet high and about 18 inches wide and deep. The entire piece is set into an antique casket cart, which at one time folded open and was used to display occupied caskets at funerals. The casket cart has 4 wheels on the bottom for wheeling the caskets around. Often friends send things to Jerry in the mail or give him things to incorporate into in his art pieces. Gordon Barnett, a friend and fellow artist living on Vashon Island, gave the casket cart to him. Below the Casket cart are two red feet made from old wooden shoetrees. The round brass switch just above the coffin cart activates the feet so they go through a walking motion. The large, dark elongated box in the center of the piece is an old violin case called a “coffin case.” The decorative copper face and hands were added by Jerry. The coffin case was a gift that arrived in the mail one day from Michigan. Inside the case is a carved cedar figure surrounded by moss. There are rope lights hidden behind the moss that can only be seen when the lights are turned on. The figure has an abalone mouth with a copper tongue. The tongue comes out of the mouth when the main upper chamber is opened and says “Live.” Turning the “S” shaped handle on the right/front of the piece opens this chamber. The outer door of this chamber has the large face that is carved into the cedar. The face has abalone eyes with a copper spiral in the mouth. When the chamber door opens a carved cedar mask appears from behind the door. Hidden just below the mask is a molded copper hand, which comes up; waves and returns back down out of sight. Opposite the “S” shape handle on the front of the piece is a prayer wheel with prayers inside. There are also prayers stamped in to the copper on the outside. Spinning the prayer wheel sets the prayers in motion.

Walking Through (open)
"Walking Through" Cover and feature article in New Spirit Journal

The Piano

(Click on Pictures for to Enlarge)
The Piano by Jerry Wennstrom

Video by
Carol Wright
The Piano began as an old Kemble baby grand piano that was given to me by friend Judith Adams. I gutted the piano and cut it down to create a smaller inside compartment. I then flipped it on its side so the keyboard runs vertically.

The entire piece stands 8 feet tall and is 24 inches wide and deep. There is a 5-foot carved cedar figure inside. The face of the figure can be seen through the round window cut in the door of the piece. The piano’s original hammers have been dyed and painted and now adorn the top. There are lights and many brass and copper adornments as well.

The original pedal mechanism from the piano has been mounted at the bottom; acting as one of two legs the piece stands on. The second leg (behind) is one of the original piano legs.

Pressing one of the two foot pedals turns the figure’s head. On the back of the head is a small, rounded double door. Behind the door is a skull, carved into the inside wood of the head.

The second foot pedal activates the hands. When the pedal is pressed the hands open
slowly (like a book.) Stamped into the copper plates, mounted on the palms of the hands is a poem:

hammered and gutted
the piano stands mute
paradox nailed shut
dead weight waiting
widows walk
and pray
without a peep
Can’t dance? Buzz God!

…and, the sculpture offers a way to Buzz God! Four of the ivory piano keys have brass plates with words stamped into them. The first key says, “Off Key” the second, “Buzz God,” the third, “Sound of Silence,” and the fourth, “One Hand Clapping.” Pushing the “Buzz God” key activates a loud buzzer.

Piano Keyboard with Option to "Buzz God"
Face of Inner FigureTop with Hammers



Head - Inner figure

5-ft Tall Inside FigureInner Figure

Inner Figure and Keyboad
Dyed and Painted Piano Hammers Adorning Top

Feet and light of Inner figure
Hidden Compartment on Back of Head
Skull at back of Head Seen Through Doors Opening

Hands Closed

Hands Beginning to Open
Open Hands Present the Poem:
hammered and gutted
the piano stands mute

paradox nailed shut

dead weight waiting

widows walk
and pray
without a peep

Can't dance? Buzz God

Foot Pedals that Turn Head and Open Hands

Click on Images to EnlargeConfessional
(Click on Pictures to Enlarge)

During a trip to Italy I was moved by a few ancient, worm-eaten Confessionals I saw in several of the older cathedrals in Assisi. The oldest ones were small and simple and appeared not to be in use any longer. They were often placed off to the sides of the smaller chapels or in out of the way places. These old confessionals were so well-used over the years that the places where knees touched wood were worn in shape of two half moons. There were places on the hand rest where finger nails dug deep into the wood. The inspiration for this art piece was the power and energy of guilt, angst and forgiveness that these confessionals embodied.

I call the piece Confessional and it is made out of an 8' X 26" hollow, cedar log that I drug up from the ravine below our house. The outer, female figure is a double door that opens down the middle and around the face to reveal the life-size, fully carved saint inside. Turning the Danger High Voltage switch that is situated under the lower mask turns the saint into a devil -- his halo disappears, little red horns appear out of the figure's head, a forked tongue comes out of his mouth, a tail wags from behind and his hands offer an apple.

Confessional Details:

Double doors opening to inner figure

Inside figure as saint

Saint (hands up)

Saint head

Lower mask (switch hidden beneath)

Switch under lower mask and wagging Devil's tail


Inside figure as devil

Devil offers apple

Devil's head with horns and forked tong

Inside confessional window


Outside confessional window

Serpent at base of figure
"A stunning and prolific collection, shamanic, symbolic and not least, a meeting with Marilyn as poetic inspiration in tandem with a very gifted self.
Claire Dunn, Author, "Carl Jung: Wounded Healer of the Soul"

More Art

(click on pictures to enlarge)
Row of Interactive Sculptures Closed (6 foot tall)

Row of Interactive Sculptures Open (6 foot tall)

The Gift

The Tower
Stairway and entrance to the 40 ft high tower Jerry built
See "Holy Personal" by Laura Chester

Stairway and entrance to the

 Jerry building the roof of 40 ft high tower

Tibetan Monks blessing the tower

1971 Jerry Wennstrom
(self portrait at age 21)

Jerry 1979 at the time he destroyed his art

Click on the image to see it all.
Some of the early works destroyed
6' x 1' panels, painted on both sides
There were over 80 of these paintings.

(click on DVD cover to enlarge)

Trailer to a new film Mythic Journeys, which features Jerry's early paintings and more recent sculptures.
(Imaginal Cells Inc)
Dog Washing Station
 Created for the Inn at Langley 


click on images to enlarge


The Headstone's final resting place (and ours too) at the Langley Cemetery

Reverse side of headstone

In the Beginning...

- 2


I carved the headstone in 16th/17th century New England style. Things just seemed to fall into place for the creation of the stone. Death, as a potentially liberating experience (metaphoric and literal) has been a theme in my art and life for many years. It is the essential mythos described in my book and Parabola/Sentient Publications documentary film made about my art and life.
My wife Marilyn Strong trained with Jerrigrace Lyons of Final Passages and is currently doing home and family funerals through Visser Funeral Home. Marilyn is also president of the Langley Woodmen Cemetery Board here on Whidbey Island. She worked with the Board and Langley City Council to establish a green burial section of the cemetery recently. There are very few green burial sites in Washington State or in the country, generally. Green Burial is however, an emerging national trend so hopefully we will have a better option than polluting the earth and ground water with enormous amounts of toxins that are used in our current burial process. We recently purchased one of the new green burial plots at the cemetery so I decided to carve a headstone for the two of us.
I had it in mind to create my own headstone for many years. I was originally inspired by an older Eastern European man I knew in my teens. He was an artist and made his own beautiful headstone out of free-form cement, embedded with glass and ceramic fragments. It wasn’t until years later that I was driving by a large cemetery in the New York area, where I grew up, that I saw his headstone from a distance and discovered the man had died.
I carved ours out of stone, which was an enormously difficult task, not actually knowing what I was doing when I began. The base for the stone is made of formed concrete and includes a special piece of embedded marble. The marble was found on the beach of a sacred site on the isle of Iona, Scotland Marilyn, being a fan of C.G Jung and loving the fact that he carved words and images into stone, took up the hammer and chisel at one point and helped create the very feminine spiral on the back of our stone. The stone was completed on Easter day -- a fitting end-date.
With the help of my friend Van, I installed the headstone on site April 7th.
There is something both mysterious and liberating about giving one’s self, in an embodied way, to facing one’s own ultimate demise – even if only as a symbolic gesture.
Friend and poet Judith Adams happened to be walking with her dogs in the cemetery one day when I was there measuring the ground for placement of the stone and she sent me 2 wonderful poems she wrote that were inspired by the encounter:


Judith Adams reads two poems she wrote about the gravestone.

  Poems by By Judith Adams
Jerry’s Gravestone
We keep the dead separate.How can it be otherwise, for they hob -nob with God in person, under slabs of mossed stone,they have their supine conversations.You kneel on the spring grass to assess your compact property,your death cot between strangers,a tape measure dangling off center,your face like a boy with a great scheme; and like a boy, not afraid of the big bad wolf, at ease with the exciting pulse of the unknowable, say,of Voldemort or Aslan. Standing there watching is a novelty.We are used to planning the future.Designing a house or flowerbeds is a sensuous occupation,an understandable manifestation. But your own headstone!The carving, the quote, shocking!The illusive inevitability deliciously chilling and the final province along with the only, true alumna sublime.People will say to one another,“there’s no date of the departed.”They will think,“This man likes to skirt the premises, to rattle the door a bit, to live with the tremor, the paramount visitation of the dreaded terminus.Only when skeletons dance,is the party is in full swing!

Grave Stone
You have not finished your grave stone yet,I want to come across it one day on the undisturbed grass.A great surprise as I round the bend with the dogs.The carved skeleton, and chiseled words of a poem,the joint resting place, and the weather would be significant too.What if every bride and groom undertook the task to find words at the beginning that survive the hand grenades of marriage?What if the blushing bride and nervous groom had worked away for weeks on a death project;an artistic expression of the hyphenated life, a home for lichen, eternal silence, the use of language sparse and demands an undisguised journey, amid acquisitive romance. The bringing in of a dark stranger with chilling suggestions a robust embrace, a raw per-nuptial, that challenges constancy, a wonderfully morbid and charming commitment.And I am sure, the use of course sand paper is happily discussed! 

Here is an inspiring video about hand carving headstones in early New England Style.

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