“The Oars of Cortés”


To choose an obscure or obtuse object around which to build a piece that addresses the conquest. Cortés was propelled into history by the Oars of his landing boats – he once said “Next to God, we owe our victory to our horses.” Each oar blade has been replaced with a symbolic element – such as the horse skull.

The work is in two parts. The first  incorporates a more traditional approach to materials and techniques – i.e. hand carved wood forms. The second, is decidedly more contemporary in both materials and concept. The second format would consist of eight full scale - cast and fabricated aluminum oars. Each oar “blade” would be substituted by a scaled up version of a 1930 era “Comet” flashlight. The oars would be mounted to an exposed motorized component – allowing the entire group to row in unison.

The structure carrying the oars would allow either a floor mounted condition or ceiling mount at least fifteen feet above the viewer.

The slowly rowing group would have high power LED’s in the body of the flashlight. As the piece moves it rakes the surroundings with searching beams of light.

A half scale model of the working oar is in progress.