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Work Samples

“The songs of the guardians of silence are the most powerful”

“The songs of the guardians of silence are the most powerful” —Joy Harjo (Muscogee (Creek) Nation- Cherokee, author, musician, U.S. Poet Laureate), 92x48x16, Tree limb, ply wood, headlight, rusty pots, scythe handle, wheels, paint

Sacred Dance of Flight

"Sacred Dance of Flight", 36x66", Found spoons from banks of Herring Run where people heated drugs in camp fire, salvaged architectural elements, wood, paint, digital images

Collateral Damage

"Collateral Damage", 39x20x11", Carved figures and handbuilt little houses, paint, metal bedspring, bathtub foot, gold leaf

Artifact

"Artifact", 32x40x7", carved, painted maple with leather strap, tin cup, fork&spoon, dominoes, pennies

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About M. Jordan

Baltimore City

M. Jordan Tierney's picture
www.jordantierney.com Born on Long Island NY, BFA from MICA 1985, lived in Washington DC for 20 years, now live and work in Baltimore city. Collages. Large scale wood carvings and assemblages of found objects. Books. I spend many hours in the urban waterways near where I live. There, I study nature and all of the things humans have cast off which end up in the stream. These forgotten and abused areas of nature are my spiritual places- they are filled with life. I like to consider evolution on... more

Invocations

These adorned bone-like sculptures are both memorial and messenger, epitaph and prophecy, funeral dirge and call-to-arms.

Jordan’s art practice and life are intertwined. Her studio space includes the abused and forgotten patches of land sandwiched between roads and urban streams.  A magical realm of tangled forest writhes along the edges of these streams. Ideas germinate during her wanderings in these zones as she practices looking for nothing and everything at the same time. Her natural sense of time and place is restored by absorbing all the patterns of seasonal changes, animal activities, growth, and decay.      

These urban waterways carry the flood of storm water from the surfaces of our human-built landscape out to the Chesapeake Bay and the ocean beyond. The water gathers whatever it encounters in the roads and gullies. This flotsam and jetsam whispers clues to life. Found objects and foraged organic materials later combine in the studio as spiritual translators for Earth’s pleas and wisdom. Jordan speaks in the language of the terrain we zoom past every day, busy ignoring our breathing earthling brethren.

These forests have witnessed and been victims of our human folly for hundreds of years now. Some trees seem to gesticulate as spokespeople, warning of the looming climate cataclysm. The large works combine these patient arboreal expressions with phrases from female environmentalists, poets, and social justice activists. Jordan is inspired by these brave women who were often themselves victims of injustice and their work was often ignored. Degradation of women and abuse of the Earth historically go hand in hand. Each sculpture was designed with some of these writings in mind.

Spiritual Devices from the 3rd Millennium

I create objects from the confluence of materials left on the shores by the floodwaters.

When I walk the urban wilds of stream water run-off forests, I feel set free from the organization of the chronological timeline we have in our heads. I become one with the cycles of the seasons, the immense power of floodwaters, the tracks a heron leaves. The past, present, and future merge into one.

Since most of my urban wilds are only traveled by animals, I can imagine the beauty and grandeur of Mid-Atlantic North America before colonists arrived.

Or I can focus, like an archaeologist, on the man-made objects now claimed by the stream or forest floor, and ponder the marks of human behavior.

Eventually I feel as though I am out to forge a life in this terrain. Survival. What might I find that is edible or useful.

This leads me to feel a bit post-apocalyptic. How would I describe the meaning of life given a clean slate to invent a my own spirituality formed by this place?

  • Lullaby

    "Lullaby", 32x6x6", Tree limb, glass, furniture parts, porcelain insulators, hardware, stones, paint
  • Ambergris

    Ambergris, 32x9x6", Tree limb, glass, piano stool foot, hardware, paint
    Ambergris, 32x9x6", Tree limb, glass, piano stool foot, hardware, paint
  • Premonition

    Premonition, 60x7x4", Tree limb, light bulb, furniture part, chain exhaust pipe, canteen, hardware, paint
    Premonition, 60x7x4", Tree limb, light bulb, furniture part, chain exhaust pipe, canteen, hardware, paint
  • Star Dust

    Star Dust, 34x5x5", Glass, tree limb, furniture part, amber vial, pearl, hardware, paint
    Star Dust, 34x5x5", Glass, tree limb, furniture part, amber vial, pearl, hardware, paint
  • Tell Tale

    Tell Tale, 65x6x5", Tree limb, glass, tool handle, screw driver, rope, hardware, paint
    Tell Tale, 65x6x5", Tree limb, glass, tool handle, screw driver, rope, hardware, paint
  • Voo Doo

    Voo Doo, 39x5x5", Tree limb, furniture part, amber bottle, pearl, hardware, paint
    Voo Doo, 39x5x5", Tree limb, furniture part, amber bottle, pearl, hardware, paint
  • Fertility Goddess

    Fertility Goddess, 27x7x3", Glass, tree limb, clock works, porcelain insulators, chain, cabinet knobs, rake, hardware, paint
    Fertility Goddess, 27x7x3", Glass, tree limb, clock works, porcelain insulators, chain, cabinet knobs, rake, hardware, paint
  • Resurrection

    Resurrection, 25x14x4, Glass, shovel, tree limb, wish bone, light bulbs, hardware, paint
    Resurrection, 25x14x4, Glass, shovel, tree limb, wish bone, light bulbs, hardware, paint
  • Rough Spot

    Rough Spot, 26x7x3", Tree limb, traffic beacon, furniture parts, broken china, paint
    Rough Spot, 26x7x3", Tree limb, traffic beacon, furniture parts, broken china, paint
  • Joy Ride

    Joy Ride, 36x16x7", Tree root with natural stone inclusion, wheel, bedsprings, mole mesh, paint
    Joy Ride, 36x16x7", Tree root with natural stone inclusion, wheel, bedsprings, mole mesh, paint

Anthropocene Scenes

2019
This project grew out of spending time in an urban stream with my daughter. At first I was appalled at the condition of the stream and its banks. As I watched my daughter intuituively interact with the environment I saw deeper into the place and all the life it created and supports. She spontaneously built shelters, weapons, rituals, stories. These works are viewded through salvaged windows and hold the evidence of what we saw, found, and created on our adventures.

Ritual Artifacts

These pieces are carved wood found in urban streams. When streams flood due to storm drain run-off, they change the surrounding ladscape dramatically. It feels post-apocalyptic with all the trash and devastation. The rising swift water often knocks down trees, exposing the root balls. If the tree grew in a rockky area, the roots had to grow between and around rocks. If unable to do that, the roots just absorb the rock and keep going. I find these rare occurences and harvest them. I use hand tools to make what look to tools or spiritual devices for use in a post-apocalyptic landscape where I am living down by a stream. Mother nature and I create these together. 

  • Truce

    Carved sycamore with rock formation 12x8x5"
  • Pitcher

    hand-carved pitcher-like burl vessel with bark exterior, old piano leg handle, brass drain cover spout
  • Net

    Carved wood with rock formation and stainless steel net 8x8x12"
  • Furrower

    Carved sycamore with rock formation
  • Censer

    hand-carved spalted oak burl, rusty bracket so it can swivel, a lid made of salvaged metal and wood parts, and a long wooden handle from an abandoned chair.
  • Dipper

    Carved sycamore with two rock formations 4x6x16
  • Swallow

    Carved sycamore with rock formation 6x6x20
  • SecondHelping

    Carved wood with two rock formations 5x6x16"
  • Berry Picker

    Berry Picker
    carved found wood with natural rock inclusion, net

If One of Us Is Chained, None of Us Are Free

Large-scale charm bracelet carved of wood. Western Christian symbols of good will intertwined with shackles of slave-trade era. Represents our parallel and conflicted historical narrative, of good will, and our relationship to others and objects

Wood sculpture

These are large scale carvings of wood and found objects. They speak to socio-economic, environmental, and emotional issues.

  • Artifact

    "Artifact", 32x40x7", carved, painted maple with leather strap, tin cup, fork&spoon, dominoes, pennies
  • Life Ring

    92x40x6� (variable), ring is 32� carved, burned, painted wood, metal hardware, rope, fishing bobbers metal letters reading, "the cruel seas, remember, took him in november"
  • Cumulonimbus

    size variable, cart is 22x50x36� found wood and styrofoam, fishing net, wheels
  • Sail for the Siren Winds

    108x84x5� lace, bras, rope, wood
  • Ascension

    108x10x16", carved, painted wood with budvases, rope, metal
  • Empire

    52x12x22", carved, painted oak salvaged from 1870's house, broken china, stove flue cover
  • Things Put On Pedestals

    22x16x13", carved, burned, painted oak salvaged from 1870's house, wood moulding
  • Gaia

    Found root with stone inclusion, carved wood, antler, feathers

Wood Sculpture

Large scale wood carvings with assemblage of found objects addressing socio-economic, evironmental, emotional, and spiritual issues

  • Thwarted

    29x21x7, carved and painted yellow pine joists salvaged from an 1870's house in bolton hill
  • Whisper Gatherer

    60x80x36 assemblage of found objects like old t.v. cabinet, bottles, old phonograph horn with accordion-like fabric and wood movable arms, lighted x-ray front with spray paint images
  • Collateral Damage

    "Collateral Damage", 39x20x11", Carved figures and handbuilt little houses, paint, metal bedspring, bathtub foot, gold leaf
  • Piety

    36x100x62", carved, painted wood with mirrors, screen, buttons, hooks, bottles
  • Dreamboat

    104x53x6 found wood, 2 liter soda bottles, string, paint on pages from The New Dictionary of Thoughts, 1955
  • Epitaph

    Carved maple 60x13x9"

Connect with M. Jordan

M. Jordan's Curated Collection