Sculptor Sam Jinks’inspiration for his new work is the statue of the goddess Iris which once graced the west pediment of the Parthenon. Iris was the swift messenger goddess with the ability to communicate between the gods and mankind; moving beyond the realm of the living and freely into the Underworld.
Iris, a goddess of liminal spaces, is for Jinks a metaphor for the way we can view the Parthenon sculptures.While we are separated by the creators of the Parthenon by over 2000 years, by focusing on the details- the contours of the marble, the subtle movements of the sculptor, the gentle care taken in forming the bodies, and the resistance of the tools over the marble surface, the divide between the contemporary and the ancientrecedes. In this way we can attempt to decode the meaning and sentiment left behind by ancient sculptors for whom the works were a testament to the power and magnificence of the gods.
Jinks’ work is allegorical, operating on several levels. The figure of Iris gazing into the Styx is akin to our own viewing of history – looking from afar through the lens of myth and memory. The sculpture performs the role of messenger, inviting us to move beyond the veil and enter a world that is distant yet strangely familiar.Just as ancient art illuminates the modern, so too can modern art illuminate the ancient. By creating a work with its roots in classical sculpture and mythology Jinks seeks to connect with an ancient tradition while guided by contemporary sensibilities and using the tools available to a sculptor today.