Orpheus & Eurydice

A pair of 2/3 life-size figures. The defining figures represent the moment Orpheus looks back to Eurydice, losing her to Dis. Also commissioned are two partial figures and an eleven foot tall abstraction of the figures integrated with a fountain, representing the music Orpheus composed upon losing Eurydice.

Orpheus & Eurydice
All four works were stolen by metal scrappers June 27, 2013.
Orpheus & Eurydice
2002 commission of MarciaPrice & Price Family Foundation
Utah Symphony & Opera Production Center, 336 N. 400 W., Salt LakeCity, UT


The defining figures represent the moment Orpheus looks backto Eurydice, losing her to Dis. Also commissioned are two partial figures andan eleven foot tall abstraction of the figures integrated with a fountain,representing the music Orpheus composed upon losing Eurydice. The fountain was reduced in size, and the tall abstraction was kept by the Price family.

This commission occurred in response to my MFA solo exhibition of 22 figures. I pioneered the flashing technique during my MFA exploration, as well as the investigation of off-balance figures. This commission was completed with access to the University of Utah Art Department foundry for one semester.
I wrote a short epic on Orpheus & Eurydice five years before creating the sculptures.
 
3-21-97
 
The Maenads came upon you in the wilderness
And did rip your head away at last.
 
What had overcome you
That you would penetrate death,
Leave the world of the living,
Risk eternity in the timeless
Domain of Dis?
 
Eurydice, your lost bride.
The maiden-wife, viper stung.
Turned to shadow on the day of marriage.
To have so sweet a Muse,
Such wholehearted purpose
Envenomed.
How it darkened you.
 
You play to her still.
Your music pervades
The Underworld.
None can resist your lament.
 
Hades grants you audience.
Into the God’s ear you pour black sounds.
Music that would not form in the living realm
Incants from you in the realm of the dead.
You sound Hades, become the voice
Of His wordless realm.
 
The serpent was His invitation.
He knew the power of your music.
He took Eurydice from you
Knowing you would follow.
That you would penetrate His shadow world
With the music of unrequieted living death.
A music he led you to become
To sound Him.
 
Music permeates the lost soul of your beloved Eurydice
Creating the stillborn child of
Her unconsummated marriage.
A genius child springing full grown
From the enduring place beyond Gods,
Infusing his fleeting presence
Upon the spirit of an immortal
So living forever though he died
Upon his father’s lyre.
 
Hades took your firstborn son
Returned to you Eurydice,
Warning to trust that she follows
Looking only to your own path
Till both live again.
Hermes walks with her
Their steps never touching the ground.
The incredible living death you have suffered
Is nearly at its end.  Emerging
From the heavy air of Dis into the soft night,
Your body turns to the following silence.
You had forgotten Spring, forgotten the living
Quickness to her.  Your eyes look
Faster than you can close them:
She is with you, within your closed eyes.
Hermes lets a small cry, you press your eyes with your hands,
Holding this shade of her, knowing she is gone.
 
A horrific new voice erupts from your ruin
A voice that knows a realm only guessed at by Gods.
Your fingers shred upon the strings of your lyre,
Strings that would have snapped
If not consecrated in the Azure blood
Of your immortal son.
You flee to the wilderness
Knowing the music that sounds you
Will undo the minds of men
And be inaudible to Gods.
Stones understand, and follow.
 
You intuit the song
To make twin your firstborn.
By eurythmics you direct the Three Fates;
Atropos moves to cut the tapestry of the universe from the loom,
Clotho readies new thread for the weft of Lachesis,
And these unplayed threads become the strings of your lyre.
 
Your first note will unravel the ancient weaving.
Your music will lay new warp.
A tempest of sound rages within you
As your Genius composes the entire form
In completion, before utterance.
 
Dionysus is merciful
And has always loved you.
The fraternal twin is breaching your fingertips,
Dilating your throat
When His Bacchanals release you
Placing your severed head
In a great mountain stream
Where the waters swirl away
Your Muse and carry you
To the caves of Lesbos
Where your dark wisdom echoes from the cave
Till Apollo descends to seal the mouth.
 
The Maenads devour your body,
Your unborn son,
Break your lyre,
And consume the Azure strings
Hidden in the blackened locket of Eurydice.
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