Neptune’s Treasure

A solo exhibition by Jean Steele

After seven decades of being an artist (or close to seven since I started drawing and painting on the beautiful walls of my bedroom when I was quite small), I have learned again to play like a child with my various media.

My lifetime love affair with clay has morphed into a meditation–a playful one. My work over this past winter has brought me the Sea Bowls*. At the time I was just reminded of water in its various forms specifically ocean water. I often thought of tempestuous seas and calm seas and stormy seas, metaphors for life as a human being whose body is mostly water.

The ceramic portion of Neptune’s Treasure is a large variety of these sea bowls. Some have fish decorations, some waves and some you’ll just need to see for yourself. But the playful meditation does not stop with the clay works.

Driftwood on the beach has also presented itself to me in a playful manner. I have a great deal of driftwood at home and I still collect fanciful shapes. Is that a bird or a walnut? What kind of new species are you? These questions are always on my mind when I walk the beaches.

For Neptune’s Treasure the driftwood became artifacts. The list of these artifacts is quite long, but each one has been delightful to ‘restore.’ There is a Water Torch, the Siren’s Harp, the Siren’s Song Book, Tapestry from the Throne Room, an Alter Cloth from the West Temple, and many more. Most of the ‘artifacts’ have been painted and enhanced with wire, thread and yarn. There is even a broken Staff of Zeus.

I don’t think I am quite in my second childhood, but it has been fun to be playful with the work I am presenting in Neptune’s Treasure. The exhibit is available for viewing until July 1st. The gallery is open daily 10:00 to 6:00 pm.

*Sea Bowls are a powerful geologic formation. They begin as a bubble of gas deep inside an oceanic volcano. As the magma rises the bubbles come forth to burst open when the molten lava surrounding them cools. In that single instant of birth, the essence of the sea solidifies in the hollow capturing the secrets of the ocean.

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