Conquering Challenges

Join us this August as we celebrate with renowned sculptor, Star Liana York, the recasting of her monumental bronze, Distant Thunder, available for the first time in 20 years. This show, aptly titled Conquering Challenges, also features new works by Star, “inspired by the importance of beauty and spiritual connections in our lives.” The new sculptures will become part of the artist’s “Spiritual Liaisons” and “Talisman and Totem” series.

Keep reading for a sneak peek of sculptures that are still in her studio.

“By turning to the beauty of nature, the ability to cultivate one’s personal power is fortified.”

Star Liana York

This past year, Star has taken time to reflect on the power of beauty, and how humanity has always surrounded itself with things of beauty. This personal introspection, paired with the exploration of symbols of spirituality that different cultures draw strength from, has reinforced Star’s conviction that both individually and collectively, humankind continues to tap into its inner resources, and into nature, to meet and overcome whatever challenges it faces. This belief in our innate ability to conquer challenges translates into her work in literal and figurative ways. Star hopes that viewers will contemplate the energy contained within a piece of art, and the ability to “call on that magic spark when needed, whether it be courage, fortitude, or clarity of vision.”

Opening reception is on August 6 from 5-7:30 pm at our downtown Santa Fe location at 125 W. Palace Ave. The show continues through August 31. You can always find Star’s work at Sorrel Sky Santa Fe, Sorrel Sky Durango and

“As an extension of this most primal understanding that goes back to the very roots of our being, I feel that all objects of art contain an energy endowed by their maker. It is this very mystery I wished to explore in this body of work and encourage viewers to contemplate. It is partly influenced by those contemporary artists who have reminded me of these mysterious corners of my mind, but mostly by the ancients whose brilliance fascinates and inspires me above all, and on whose shoulders we all stand.”

Star Liana York

Star discusses works from her “Spiritual Liaisons” and “Talisman and Totem” series …

Moon Bear

The creation of fetishes, effigies, and talismans goes back to the earliest evidence of mankind. The compulsion to make aesthetic objects displays the creative spark that distinguished Homo sapiens from Neanderthals; it is a unique providence of the human mind. 

First expressed in stone carvings and cave wall paintings from the Paleolithic Period, it has continued throughout the centuries and across all cultures. When mankind is in tune with the natural environment, he is acutely aware of the strengths inherent in other species in order to learn useful survival skills … such as the bear for finding healing herbs, the coyote for clever prowess, the deer for evasive tactics. 

By creating their likeness, the recreation becomes the physical embodiment for the particular characteristic the animal symbolizes for the maker. As every creature has its unique qualities, so have other elements such as stone, feather, and bone, which when added to the fetish increases its significance. The object then has become the recipient vessel of the energy given it, a spiritual liaison for the bearer, containing the energy. This magic spark can then be called upon when needed, whether it be courage, fortitude, clarity in vision, or healing powers.

Wolf Moon

The Wolf Moon is the first full moon of the new year, so ushers in new beginnings … the end of winter’s sleep and the start of the world awakening. Combined with wolf energy (loyalty and guardianship of family), the wolf totem fetish is supported by the powerful energies of stones, feathers, and claws.

The Feathers: Hawk and Goldfinch. The Hawk has acute vision and can see well beyond for a higher perspective and understanding … offering expanded foresight. The Goldfinch symbolizes exuberance and joy of life … harmony, balance, and richness of living.

The Stones: Turquoise, Moss Agate and Chalcedony. Turquoise draws healing energy in from the universe and is used in healing ceremonies. It manifests good fortune and enduring love. Moss Agate enhances self-expression and development of one’s unique gifts … nourishing and strengthening. Chalcedony is a favored stone for the making of arrowheads. Being of such a hard density, it can be thinly shaped into arrowheads or tips for spears, so carries awesome power and strength even when it is the small size of arrowheads. Together with the claws, this fetish makes for very strong protection against adversity.

(still in the studio)

No other bird has symbolized mystery and magic as much as the owl, with perceptions that widely vary from culture to culture among the ancients. But the concepts of wisdom, vision in dark places, and intuition of hidden motives are consistently present in connection with owl lore. 

Example: an owl rested on the shoulder of Athena in Ancient Athens to guide her in justice, and alert her to the approach of disguised enemies. Owl’s perceived clairvoyance and acute vision give them the ability to see through masks, in order to wisely discern true intentions.

In some cultures of the Southwest, owls were associated with the soul, especially for women. Owls are aligned with moon magic, from which they get their great healing power, especially of the heart and soul. This shows us the way to connect with those deep inner parts of ourselves to discover our true heart-path in life.

Pairing with the moonstone, the owl energy is magnified. Moonstone cleanses away negativity, cultivates empathy and compassion, aids balance with the rhythms of Nature, and re-energizes mind and body.

Terrapin Totem
(still in the studio)

The intent of totems, as created by ancient cultures from all parts of the globe, is to cultivate a spiritual connection that helps guide us to meet challenges we face, and to the realization of our authentic self by tapping into the mystical powers of the natural elements around us.

This totem has the Terrapin (which is the type of turtle that inhabits both land and water) as its foundation. Often representing Mother Earth, turtles are in many creation legends and myths and are symbolic of perseverance against all odds, patience, and long life.

Frogs have been always inextricably tied to the bringing of rain and good fortune. In some cultures, tiny frogs are carved to be carried in one’s pocket to assure prosperity.

The snail carries on its back a spiraled shell. The significance of the spiral symbolizes a long spiritual journey, but when in conjunction with the protective shell, implies the strong spiritually as a force against adversity.

The amount of research, and thoughtful consideration that Star gives to the development of a new piece translates into works that are dynamic, evocative. Each has its own spark that ignites a connection … allowing us to individually identify with something specific within that sculpture.”

— Shanan Campbell, owner of Sorrel Sky Gallery