John Geldersma: Spirit Poles
By D. Eric Bookhardt, GAMBIT WEEKLY
The turn-of-the-century British occultist Aleister Crowley loved New Orleans, calling it “… the greatest city in America, with the best red light district this side of Cairo, a beacon of civilization surrounded by an intriguing wildness.” And that wildness still intrigues, even natives such as John Geldersma. A West Banker transplanted to Acadiana, and more recently to New Mexico, Geldersma has for years crafted what he calls Spirit Poles. Pleasantly aboriginal in effect, these carved, polished, colored, banded and curiously totemic lengths of small tree trunks are near-universal in their evocation of African, Native American and Oceanic cultures, a quality perhaps stemming from their primal origins in the earth, enhanced by their transformational luster as objects of reverie, links to places where the nature spirits still linger, biding their time, undaunted and untamed.