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  photography by courtney frisse

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MARK DIAMOND SCULPTURES: 
                    CHALICES AND SCEPTERS


Artist Statement and BIO

My work has been shaped by a myriad of influences. My first degree was in
literature with a focus on the medieval period. The minor for that degree was in
Classics with a concentrated study of mythologies. The myths and tales that
appealed to me were more in the Nordic and Celtic traditions than the Greek and
Roman. The Arthurian legends, the Welsh Mabignogion cycle, Beowulf, and tales of
Cuchulain are continuing sources of inspiration. Celtic music was and remains a
passion. This is what plays in the studio. Using more than specific historical
references to Celtic history, or tales of Arthur and Gawain, I try to create in my
work a feeling for times “long ago and far away”. With much the same attitude as
the Romantic poets, particularly Coleridge and Byron, and painters such as Blake
and Delacroix, the romance is derived from a period that may or may not have
existed in reality. During travels in Europe, I became familiar with various forms of
early weaponry and was astounded by their beauty and sense of deadly purpose.

Issues of power and authority are also important to my work.The Chalice and
Scepter are traditional symbols of power. Power is often seductive and frequently
obtained and held through intimidating means. In order to delve into this issue, I
attempt to create a tension in my work of simultaneous attraction and repulsion. I do
this through the use of texture, color, and softer materials which seductively draw
one in, while at the same time I try to push the viewer back with the use of more
threatening elements such as spikes, blades, and forms that may cause a primal
reaction of disgust or fear.

My training is as a smith. The processes that I use have been around for centuries,
as befits work that harkens back to days long past. The Scepter and Chalice series
are fabricated pieces, in which I work directly with the materials, using traditional
metalsmithing processes such as soldering, raising, and stone setting.

The direction that I am currently exploring is represented by cast bronze vessels.
These pieces are still exploring the elements of attraction and repulsion that have
been important in previous series of work.The starting point for these pieces was
an interest in mythological cauldrons and vessels that were important elements in the
pre-Christian Celtic myths. Examples are Bran’s caldron of renovation, which
would bring the dead to life, although in zombie form, Pyderi’s caldron, which was a
precursor to the Grail of Arthurian legend and which Arthur went to the underworld
to steal, and Gwyddneu’s basket, a cornucopia, which was created to feed the world,
but would not, however, boil the food of a coward.