Madeline McGloin

Under Angel's Auspice

Class of: 2025

Major: Architectural Design BFA

Medium: Soft sculpture: hand-sewn fabric, caulking foam, mod podge sealant

Faculty: Carol Peligian

Prompt: The prompt was to sculpt an extended or reinvented part, section, or representation of the body. Choice of material was unrestricted but should enhance the message more than physical presence or recognition.

Since I was little, I have self-soothed and reconnected to my inner spirit by physically tapping on my sternum. My infatuation with the ribs and chest plate in both myself and other people is rooted in my personal fixation with the protection of the mind, body, and spirit. The rigid nature of bones can be regarded as a cage or as a reliquary for the central organs of the body. When prompted to create a sculpture representing an extended or reinvented part of the body, I immediately decided upon conjuring a reinvented version of my own ribs and sternum.

Soft sculpture gives me the freedom to literally and figuratively soften the rigid form that protects my vital organs and my breath. The significance of the newly flexible bones allows for deeper, more controlled breath in the moments I find myself panicked and hyperventilating. Not only this but reupholstering my ribs in a softened white fabric emulates the cozy, welcoming essence of a comfort object. I retained the color white, however, to reinforce the spiritual homage I make to my Inner Mother–who I revere archetypally through the characteristics of the moon. In the ways that the moon represents a shadowy, poetic embodiment of a mother, my intention was to channel the feminine nature that founds my existence.

To bring this piece into physical form is to honor my higher self–to construct a sacred reliquary for my soul. Transcending the philosophical confinements of the human body, my rib sculpture craves nothing more than reminding me to have radical self-acceptance and love.