As an object maker I am always on the look-out for things to cast and there are always lots of bones hanging around the studio. I am drawn to bones as objects. Bones are always such nice shapes, all those complex curves. They are of a nice scale that can be held in the hand. I canít pick up a bone without speculating about the form that has generated the bone. Itís a simple structural calculation. If you have the bone, you have the whole creature. The form of the creature is implicit in the bone.
But it gets a bit more complicated. I am now working with casts made from a human skeleton. As I pour the wax or break away the plaster, I find I cannot be unaware that I am casting something that has been living, that has walked the earth and is now defunct. As I work away through the technically complex casting ritual I find part of me wondering: was this an adult or juvenile? was it male? female? was it healthy? was it happy? Working in the studio, as the pieces accumulate I am struck by how arresting it is to see multiples of human remains. Not too arresting, I hope - I want to avoid any sense of the crudely sensational. Also, how odd to see crystalline replicas of recognizably human artifacts.
Whatís that all about? Why is that so? I realize part of the explanation is that human remains are taboo, sacred. The only time a person is going to see masses of human bones is either in the context of the sacred (ossuary, reliquary); or in the context of atrocity - not a proper sight for human scrutiny nor a proper topic for idle conjecture.
Ossuary 501: a bifocal inquiry into the idea of bones as artifacts and highly charged signifiers of human absence.
- excerpt from show proposal, Toronto Free Gallery, 2006