02 August 2014
Angular nature of some stone material forces Cubism-like constraints on prehistoric artists as well as modern-day interpreters
Ken Johnston find, Flint Ridge, Licking County, Ohio. Interpreted as a left human facial profile.
This Vanport chert sculpture stands upright on a flat base in correct orientation to present this human facial profile. Eyes, nose, mouth, chin, forehead and ear embellished on a serendipitous natural form probably encountered in tool-stone procurement activities at Flint Ridge.
Side 2 with scale
Three perspectives on this sculpture. (Click photo to expand.) The highly angular nature of the chert material here requires a change of interpretive visual attention from our contemporary sensibilities. Rather than looking for accurate representation, we must use an almost "low resolution" focus to allow us to see the possible larger forms which may seen when the excruciating details of the rock are ignored. For me, this often requires taking one or several steps back from an artifact or a photo, and maybe squinting my eyelids a bit to appreciate the forest despite the trees (and branches and roots!)