Raven House

1993, 16 X 28 inch serigraph

in an edition of 195 signed,

numbered and titled, four colors on

commercial paper with durable

plasticized gloss coat.

The island of Bali is regarded by the Balinese as "the center of the world” and the Chinese traditionally think of themselves as residents of a Middle Kingdom, the only one. On the Northwest Coast this universal penchant for ethnocentrism, expressed itself in the belief that the tribal or community house was a symbol of the universe, a metaphor of ideal order. This order emphasized the relative placement of high and low ranking people both during ceremonial periods and in the course of everyday life, rank being the earthly corollary of universal order. In many traditions, to the extent that people know their place, the universe runs harmoniously.

The formline design system of Northwest Coast Indian art may have represented a philosophical notion of what is ideal as well. Ideal and symbolic form together, i.e. it is not a real raven, it is the essence of Raven, a symbol of the world ordered ideally. Raven also represents the Prime Mover in the cosmos. "Raven House” then suggests the traditional Northwest Coast view of the universe as governed by Raven conceived as a formline figure encompassing a community, or lineage, house.

Also represented is the corona of the sun in a red pattern around the door. It recalls the creation story of Raven bringing light to the world. The night sky itself is fanciful. In actuality it includes the star patterns of many different constellations. The house rushes through cosmic immensity, its trajectory indicated by the triangles of flat black.

"Raven House” was printed on Vashon Island near Seattle, Washington in the summer of 1993 by printer Jim Hunziker and the artist.

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