Alison Sigethy’s “Guide Boats”: kayaks as symbolism and solace

“Blue Kayak on Sandy Stone”

“This year has not been an easy one,” says sculptor Alison Sigethy. “Too many loved ones have reached, or are nearing, the end of their journey.” As a result, her new studio show, “Guide Boats,” evokes one of humanity’s most powerful symbols of life’s journey—as well as one of the artist’s vital sources of solace and joy.

For nine months in 2005 and 2006, Sigethy prepared to compete in the Greenland National Kayak Championships, an experience that led to profound personal transformation. “During that time, I gained a degree of confidence I never possessed,” she says, “and that has made everything I’ve achieved since possible.”

As a result, kayaking has become essential to Sigethy’s life—and, of course, to her art. “‘Guide Boats’ is inspired by the beautiful shape of traditional-style kayaks, but the pieces have taken on a spiritual side,” she explains. “The series is a celebration of the beauty of the kayak form, as well as a show about the choices we make and the benefits that come from setting impractical goals and working hard to achieve them.”

Sigethy adds that being by the side of several dying family members in the past year has caused her to be more contemplative about life as a journey and the decisions we make along the way. Troubled times have helped her see her favorite pastime anew.

“Kayaking is my means to connect with the natural world I find so inspiring,” she explains. “No matter what else is going on in my life, I can always find peace, comfort, and real joy out on the water. I always come back from a paddle in a better mood—and with many more ideas.”

“Guide Boats” will be on display in Alison Sigethy’s studio at the Torpedo Factory, studio 307, through September 30, 2013.

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