It is no surprise that the running theme of 21st century literature is escapism. Escape from our stresses and limitations; freedom from the normalcy and structure of our day to day lives. Popular novels, short stories, and tales of all ages, which has been directly reflected in films and television as well, center on the lives of wizards with a destiny greater than themselves, romantic vampire tales that promise things like immortality and “plenty of time” to do as we please, fairy tales, science fictions, and superheroes. Anything that separates people from their own existence as it is, even if only for a time.
Paige Bradley’s sculpture, “Expansion,” is a stunning and thought-provoking piece that captures the modern human need to free itself from all the restrictions of life, even those of the body. The sculpture captures that moment when ones inner light, soul, spirit, or inner essence, however you preference to perceive it, breaking through the flesh. At the same time the peaceful expression and meditative pose of the figure shares with us that this experience is enlightening, not painful or unpleasant. It is a desired occurrence, perhaps a needed one. As stated before we all have a need to be acknowledged, respected, and appreciated for our inner selves not just our external existence. The artist herself explained that she fears that, “… we are more defined by the container we are in, rather than what we are inside.”("Paige bradley," 2012) That said, this piece captures the human need to escape from the restrictions, be they physical, economical, or social that bind us. These are the same restrictions that encourage us to seek the same escapism in our modern