Acrylic on board, 15″ x 20″
We can still see the Oss at many performances where Morris dancing takes place. The Oss is usually dressed in a strange costume that includes a horse-skull mask, a wide hooped skirt, and sometimes a hobby horse stick with a mask or skull attached.
John Matthews, ‘The Quest for the Green Man’
The primary figure, derived from the “Oss” from traditional English folk dancing (Morris dances) became an authoritative, supernatural figure. The staff topped with a bird skull reflects the “shaman” from the prehistoric wall paintings in the Lascoux Cave in Dordogne, France. The oak leaf conveys renewal and rebirth. In the lower right, a bush is covered with small birds with human heads based on the Egyptian Ba (the bird form of the soul). The crowned rabbit brings the victory of life and fertility – the overall enduring essence of life as opposed/compared to individual death. Flying frogs with butterfly wings represent transformation, ecstasy and freedom. The surrounding landscape can be loosely attributed to the Incline Road forest/river area of El Portal, near Yosemite National Park. The sun, constant and celebrated, applies specifically to the winter solstice – the rebirth of the sun.