Expansion – Paige Bradley

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We all feel confined at times, either from our own abilities, situations we are in, fear of the unknown, fear of the known…the list is endless.  Society dictates that we should all fit into neat little boxes which attain neat little labels, for example, I am a white, 30 something, hetrosexual female, I am a manager, I fit into a wage bracket, I am apparently an atheist… We all know these boxes, I am sure that you have had to tick the boxes on those official forms.  It is almost like that is what defines us in the world, but what about the other things about you?  Those little boxes don’t show my love of anything arty, they don’t show I am an eternal learner or that I love the smell of roses.

Paige Bradley explores this feeling in her sculpture “Expansion”.  Bradley says herself:-

“From the moment we are born, the world tends to have a container already built for us to fit inside: A social security number, a gender, a race, a profession or an I.Q. I ponder if we are more defined by the container we are in, rather than what we are inside. Would we recognize ourselves if we could expand beyond our bodies? Would we still be able to exist if we were authentically ‘un-contained’?”

The sculpture itself shows a woman meditating in the lotus position.  Across her body cracks appear with light shining out of them.  It brings to mind the feeling of total enlightenment.  This is showing the viewer, what is inside the meditating woman, the treasures that are held within her personality and soul.

Bradley created this stunning piece by initially creating a perfect wax sculpture of the woman, and then dropping it.  Must have been a really scary moment to see something that you have worked so hard on shattered into pieces on the floor.  The pieces were then bronze cast and put back together with a lighting rig inside.

The effect is a beautifully serene image with a powerful meaning.  We should be looking beyond the boxes which society defines.  We should seek to understand more that what we see of a person at face value.

You can see more about the placement and details of Expansion here.

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