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The Power of Touch

Way way back when my friend and I were visiting the Art Institute of Chicago. The east entrance led visitors right into the antiquities exhibit of ancient Greek and Roman sculpture and artifacts. Marveling at one smooth, headless beauty, my friend reached out her hand to touch it. I immediately gasped then noticed the security guard heading over our way. Embarrassed yet amused that she would venture to touch it, I realized how can she or anyone resist? Our natural impulse is to want to touch sculpture, especially such beautiful works in stone. More than a curiosity, the stone's texture, simulating flesh, draws us to connect with it to sense it fully.


The act of shaping one of my sculptures with my hands creates a bond between us. It no longer is an indiscriminate rock but an energetic manifestation of the earth that has a meaningful presence. And through my continual attention to it both physically and intentionally, we become connected in what feels spontaneous and natural. I enjoy each step of the process from the initial wondering to the actual carving and finally smoothing the surface. In the final stages, I utilize my fingertips the most to make sure I have achieved a delicate, silky texture, like a pebble that's been smoothed by the elements over expanses of time. There is something so completely nurturing in this experience.


I understand that touching sculpture is not possible in a museum setting and rightly so for preservation purposes. But if you are in the neighborhood of my studio, I encourage you to come by and touch some stone just for the fun and sheer joy of it!







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© 2019 by Christina Bertsos

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