Sherman Chaddlesone (2nd of June 1947 – 17th of August 2013)
“I Follow in the Path of Eagles”
Sherman Chaddlesone: “I Follow in the Path of Eagles”
Acryl on canvas / 70×70 cm / Bremen, Germany, 2000
“I Follow in the Path of Eagles”
The painting has the outside measurements 70 x 70 cm and was from Sherman Chaddlesone (Sh. Ch.) been painted on a canvas which had been bought in Bremen (Germany).
The color areas blue and reddish brown are defining for the construction of the picture. The body of the represented person rises as “mountains” in the foreground of the painting, wrapped up into a blanket. The reddish brown of this blanket, which lets emerge the body form, gradually discolors down into a deep brown and black. With that, Sh. Ch. indicates an enormous grounding! Unlike this the blue of the sky shines mainly friendly, while dark colored clouds are passing over, on the upper edge of the picture. Head and arm of the person, the eagle, like also the feathers of a tuft are forming a group around the center of the picture – almost like a frame.
What did Sh. Ch. tell us about this meeting and where is “the path of eagles”?
Sh. Ch. has painted a Kiowa native, who has prepared for the meeting with the eagle: His clothes and his feather headdress indicate this. He holds a feather tuft in his left hand, on which he concentrates while practicing his ceremony. Parts of the face are covered under a mask-like painting to the support of his concentration: Through this, I think, the person of one’s own shall step back and simultaneously with that the feeling of one’s own. With the help of the mask the individuality is therefore given up during the ritualistic act. The painted person goes down on the principle “man”. I consider the ceremony as an acting support for thinking, while the cult objects support the intended change of perception and definition of oneself. Even the hair of the person is not to be seen. By this, the achieved attentiveness of the person at his intended goal makes the spirit freely and openly to being aware of events outside the thinking circle of one’s own.
The look of the observer wanders on to the feather trimming now, which Sh. Ch. has painted up to the smallest details so that you can recognize its construction. – – – The feathers are in a headband which holds everything together and whose surface had been painted with geometric forms (triangles). Since these are very big and firm feathers, the thick quills still rise furthermore. They were “stitched up” with each other, in order to fasten them in their position. With that, a seam line has arisen which gives hold to the whole. This seam line gets a poetic breaking up by “knotting in” feather downs with their finest feather hair, which are most softly and therefore without hold or resistance. This tenderness of the feather down, Sh. Ch. has painted with astonishing sensibility – how also the entire painting! He, of his part, has emphasized the high value of sensibility not only in the perception but also by acting with that, as I think. – Finally, after this playful dedication of the feather downs to all currents of air, a stability of the feathers arises, as they are equipped now with a parallel “lining up” of the single feather hairs to each other: The real, powerful feathers are forming the conclusion of the feather trimming with that. In parallel, I feel the represented person while “lining up” his spirit. Like the feathers are able to react to changed air-flows – despite stability –, the human mind should do so as well. For, I see in this a being integrated of man into his surrounding (air, animals, plants, water, weather, e. g.)
The observer sees the blue of the airs and the sky in the center of the picture. Something almost immaterial seems to be there in the center of the statement! This consideration leads me back for the question about the “path of the eagle” asked above. And this has leaded me to the following considerations first:
The path of the eagle leads primarily into the airs. There, he moves most for certain. With every wing stroke the eagle adapts his flight to the flow conditions in the air – with the help of his present attentiveness. He is using the large height and the dive, while his eyes which can be aware of the events in the largest height on the earth themselves help him. All these abilities lead him to the aim of being able to safeguard his surviving. Exactly this knowledge awards sovereignty to the eagle in the control of the airspace. – – – The American natives therefore admired the eagle – as I think – and he became the great example for them, which is able to show the “right path” – up to the sphere of the “Great Spirit”! For, the eagle can penetrate and use a room which seemed to be unattainable for the former mankind with his ground hold.
Sh. Ch. has painted the eagle rather compactly, emphasized the outlines of the silhouette of the bird, however. He has reduced the eagle on his prototype without individual trains with that. The principle “eagle”, Sh. Ch. has put into the foreground with that. (The Kiowa native had prepared himself by having reduced his self-perception on the principle “man” for this meeting, as described above). The dynamic flight movement of the eagle, like also his open beak, both are appearing as a snapshot. With that, Sh. Ch. shows clearly the powerful performing out from inside the eagle: There are no doubts, only safety, at him, the eagle. His inner feeling is swinging with all vibrations of his environment – therefore he knows… – And the eagle exactly pushes his cry with this inner conviction out! The painted American native (in his concentration on his feather tuft) distinguished this cry. His senses, refined by the concentrated attentiveness meanwhile want to understand and interpret now: A disaster which could have been turned away had had assumed itself! Sherman Chaddlesone had “formulated” it on his painting in that way: A thunderstorm threatened to cover the sky with dark clouds – these moved off, however, suddenly and released the friendly radiant sky…
“The air is pure again”.
The early natives of America experienced the cleaning strength of nature in their environment to which the nature of man also belongs, embedded in the great nature connections. Therefore, they could not only feel this cleaning within themselves and in the human one with each other, but also in the nature surrounding them. All life at all levels existed with equal rights besides each other while being in a common “interplay” – and in stopping we feel how the atmosphere is filled with a joy in the unexcited being working of every life…
Sherman Chaddlesone had made a statement with this painting – of this I am convinced. Already the picture title sounds for me like a confirmation of his own attitude, like also of his own aim: „I follow in the path of eagles“. According to my observation had Sh. Ch. very intensive devoted himself to his sensitive way of painting: After having finished his work, Sh. Ch. seemed exhausted and emotionally leached out. Where has “letting in himself to total sensibility” led him? I suspect that the experiences he had to make during his use in Viet Nam had left its mark on Sh. Ch. He had come back as another one and then tried to define his “being man” for himself newly. He found an answer among his ancestors of the Kiowa tribe. Being tied to the tribe community had got important to him, like also keeping traditions blotted out. I also regard it as possible that it had still further pulled him back “into the time”, there where the pain of his ancestors could penetrate into his soul…
It had been visibly difficult for him to arrive again into the presence of his basic feeling he had been used to be, what had lasted for some days. I would like to describe this so: A natural basic position of attentiveness (being aware in all fields of details and fine connections – like also in his inter human relations) was the essential and important for Sherman Chaddlesone!
My above statement does not only apply to Sherman Chaddlesone as a person, but also it does describe his approaches to his paintings: Those deal with prevailing moods of the American natives and Sh. Ch. creates to this his own symbol language expressing his respective request. At the painting on hand Sh. Ch. has with the color blue awarded expression to feeling longingly into memory of the ancestors of one’s own. At the same time, he refers to the intellect and the basic intellectual position of his ancestors by the blue coloring of the mask-like face painting.
Furthermore the painting “I Follow in the Path of Eagles” expresses the feeling of his complete Kiowa tribe like also that one of all American natives.
In another connection I have described in my contribution “Art Touches Art – 5” the large-sized painting briefly, which can be seen in the “Southern Plains Indian Museum” in Anadarko (Oklahoma). The impressively painted message impresses by the perfection of the way of painting like also by the painted symbolism and is thus also an example of my statement (see above) to Sh. Ch. as man and artist.
But, if we take another painting of Sherman Chaddlesone as an example for his picturesque abilities, an aha-experience happens to us spontaneously!
I talk about the picture “End Of The Sundance” of Sh. Ch. which can be looked at under the following internet address:
The painting overwhelms the observer by the impressive symbol finding of Sh. Ch.: By the force of several tornados, the power pulls down all “Indian life” leaving a desert. Sh. Ch. confronts this brute force with his sensitive way of painting with which he asks the observer for the perception of fine material and nuances, which at the horizon evaporates, climbs up to heaven… That, what “lies in the air” makes clear what it means that, here in Germany / Europe, Sh. Ch. has painted a sky part in the center of his picture in which “the air is clear”! Interpretation: Renate Hugel
Left Photo: Sherman Chaddlesone after completion of his painting „I Follow in the Path of Eagles“ / Taken in the gallery „pro art“ (Bremen, Germany) in summer 2000 – – – Right Photo: Sherman Chaddlesone during the work on his painting „I Follow in the Path of Eagles“ / Taken in the gallery „pro art“ (Bremen, Germany) in summer 2000
Remark: Current stand: To Sherman Chaddlesone I have written under “Art Touches Art” the contributions “Art Touches Art – 5” und “Art Touches Art – 11”. Renate Hugel