Fertilization and Cell Division—The formation of the zygote and the subsequent cell divisions are manifestations of the mystery and magic of life. DNA encoding, which passes the parents’ ‘heritage’ to future generations, creates a kind of ‘eternal life,’ at least at the genetic level.
SEX AND THANATOS (DEATH)
n 1. (Classical Myth & Legend) the Greek personification of death: son of Nyx, goddess of night. Roman counterpart: Mors
Existence and non-existence, life force and its end—Brice explored these dualities throughout his oeuvre. Images of sarcophagi appear with other motifs representing forms of ‘Eros,’ the ‘magic’ of reproduction (zygote cell division) and of the Supreme Eye.
Since the Middle Paleolithic period many cultures have buried their dead in graves or earthen mounds and so have created a duality deep within our primordial psyches. While we live on the earth, which feeds us, and are born of our mothers’ wombs, after we die ‘we’ are returned to a kind of womb—graves or what might be thought of as wombs in the earth. So, the Great Mother Earth simultaneously represents fertility and birth and also death as sarcophagi, caverns and burial mounds symbolize passageways into eternity, with all the mystery it holds for us.
Brice’s sarcophagus motifs seem occasionally to give the feeling of being opening-like. They are often depicted along with vulva and cervix “passageways” motifs. Is this combination of motifs simply an expression of the dichotomy between life and death? Or, is their combination a visual slime that is meant to insinuate similar portal functions between our mothers and mother earth—from and into different worlds that are beyond our understanding? Or, does Brice mean to imply all of these at once?