“The narrative is more about a personal note of my own — about life and death,” said Tristan Schober, one of the artists whose work is on display inside the Coastal Bend College art gallery, along with that of other faculty.
The display is part of the exhibit featuring artwork of the college faculty.
“Several of my loved ones have died recently, and several of my loved ones have died due to suicide.
“It is a reflection of where do you go from there.”
Each photo in this series features a white marionette made of porcelain in an area meant to convey a feeling that comes when a loved one is lost.
A marionette is simply a puppet whose movements are controlled by strings.
“I hate to take it this far back but Sesame Street was my first introduction to puppets,” she said. “That is very childlike — sweet and educational.
“But then I was introduced to the movie the Dark Crystal and Labyrinth which are both Jim Henson productions.”
These photos, along with her other work, delve deeper than most would think could be accomplished with a simple white figurine.
“The work is pretty serious despite the fact that it does feature marionettes,” she said. “It is a little bit of a self portrait.”
While they are a self portrait of her, they can also be self portraits of anyone who views them.
“It is a blank canvas,” she said. “The are representative of any man – of every man.”
Schober said that it was this symbolic nature of the porcelain figures that attracted her.
“You can see yourself in the puppet’s shoes or place.”
A person, she said, shares characteristics with the figures.
“A puppet is pretty much motionless unless you interact with it and make it move,” she said. “Sometimes we can feel like a puppet.
“We are tugged on and pulled on by a lot of different things in life.
“There are many different factors that can influence us.”
Her photos, five on display at the museum, depict life, death and the healing that comes after a traumatic event.
“This piece is called Lost,” she said, standing in front of one piece. “As a survivor or someone left with the reality of a death. What do you do with this knowledge?
“It is heartbreaking. It is sad. You experience a lot of different emotions.”
The marionette in this piece is suspended in tall grass that could easily consume him.
He is supported by only one of his strings.
“This marionette is in an aimless field,” she said. “His strings are flung all over the place... on the precipice of collapsing or getting lost amongst the grass.”
The marionette conveys that helpless feeling.
“Death is a loss and a lot of times you feel lost and you don’t know how to process it.”
Each photo takes a different emotion.
The exhibit will remain on display through Sept. 17 in the Simon Michael Gallery of the college’s art building.
Works from other college faculty are also on display.
Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.