Paint & Ink on Hardboard. 1993
Persephone: Departure & Return. 1993

Rite Of Innocent Passage. Ink on Hardboard. 1993

Ink on Hardboard. 1993.

Persephone’s  Journey and Return 

In Greek legend Persephone, the daughter of Demeter, was carried off to the underworld by the god Hades. Demeter roamed the earth weeping and searching for her daughter, and eventually contracted with Hades to have Persephone return. 

However Hades gave Persephone a magic pomegranate which ensured that she went back to the underworld for the three months of winter each year.

Her reappearance on earth each year heralds the coming of Spring. 

The story has many resonances: sexual maturity as a cause of separation between mother and daughter, the power of the subconscious, the underworld of dreams and the discovery of the self.  It is also quintessentially about the cycles of nature, the endlessly repeating patterns of the cosmos. 

In this series Claudia Pond Eyley expands her vocabulary of symbols and meditates on the transformations in her own life, looking for inherent meaning. 

A female sleeper appears in all the works surrounded by such images as the creature Ouroboros which holds its tail to make a circle, just as night and day endlessly chase each other and so bind together the universe. 

The orbit of the earth which controls the seasons. The serpent which represents water and the nourishing of the embryo in the womb. The ‘owl of dreams’ and the boat which carries the sleeper into the world of the unconscious. 

The word “air”: appears repeatedly in the larger works of the series asserting the importance of the mind and intellect along side the power of the earth and of nature.  Symbols shift and change as we consider them and this fluidity of association is the essential meaning in Claudia Pond Eyley’s works. 


Essay ©1993 Courtesy of Alexa M. Johnston


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