Instagram Facebook Twitter

Boots near the water. Film still from "Battenkill Inspired" (Serena Kovalosky 2018), The Folklife Center at Crandall Library.
Film still from “Battenkill Inspired” (Serena Kovalosky 2018), The Folklife Center at Crandall Library.


Earth and Fire. Rivers and Dreams. Serena Kovalosky’s sculptural work is rooted in the organic form with an ecological ethos that explores how the natural world can inform our comprehension of the interrelatedness of all things, providing balance and grounding in an era of global change while stimulating an environmental reverence to counteract the tacit acceptance of ecocide. Themes of impermanence, aging, relationships and (bio)diversity are contemplated through the elements of earth, fire, and water. A deeper dive into the essence of the natural world is explored through the realms of dreams and visions.

The medium through which these explorations and metaphors are presented is the humble gourd. Honoring her Polish ancestors who worked the land, Kovalosky’s creative process begins with a seed carefully cultivated, then harvested, dried, carved and transformed in the spirit of the woodcarvers of her Quebecois heritage. 

The gourd-form embraces the path of The One Who is Different through the symbolism of organic, misshapen produce rejected in our commercial food supply in favor of more “visually appealing” – yet less healthy – “conventional” options.

“I was once asked why, as a sculptor, I did not choose to work with a more ‘noble’ material.
My answer is this: In simplicity we discover the extraordinary.”

Serena Kovalosky

Kovalosky’s woodburned mark-making presents micro and macro views of Earth, from major continents to water ripples, tree bark, river stones and tiny dots of desert sand. They are the distilled essence of each element, a “remembrance” from personal encounters with brooks and trees and sacred fires rather than copying directly from nature. These elements serve as metaphors to explore questions of relationship. Brass alloy gilding balances the “earthiness” with the “ethereal” – yet it will age over many years, reflecting the natural cycles of nature.

In her Dreams and Visions collection, spiral forms and biomorphic designs explore the roots of our DNA, to the beginning of creation when Earth was still a dream and anything was possible. Kovalosky’s questioning of the world beyond the physical realm began as a child looking up at the moon and continued into adulthood through experiences with dreams and visions and encounters with Native American elders.

“How many have strayed so far that they can no longer recognize the voice of the wind through the trees, the scent of the earth after a good rain, or the song of water rushing over river stones? Will nature continue to be compromised until all that is left is a single, sacred place at the edge of extinction? Or will a humble gourd with its equally humble message find its way into the human heart?”
Serena Kovalosky

Gourd with gilded interior. "Earth Contemplating the Moon" Serena Kovalosky (2022). Photo credit mclaughlinphoto.com
“Earth Contemplating the Moon” Serena Kovalosky (2022). Photo credit: mclaughlinphoto.com