Killerwhale with ‘Abalone’
EXHIBITION:Barry Herem: Wood. Glass. Paper. Steel.
This is the portrayal of a killer whale in classic Northwest Coast form line-style. It is based on the image of a 19th century ivory Tlingit shaman’s charm. The fin of this Orca rises directly up in a dark blue-black through the center of this image. It is especially denoted by its circular blow-hole in which a human face is found. It and this figure’s small hands below represent the human being and human form which so often lie beneath the surface of many animistic designs in this style. The Orca is a human being transformed and in the mythology of “the coast” killer whales lives beneath the sea as people existing in villages and houses not unlike people on land. Below is found the wide face and sensuous mouth of the killer whale, and at the top of the image his flaring tail sweeps out from the intersecting dorsal fin to the margins of the design. At the sides the killer whale’s pectoral fins connect the large eyes below to the fin. The flowing S-curves over the fields of blue-green represent the rib-cage.