Materially, this sculpture, Narcissus, is an evisceration; A hollow skin made of 13 specialized conservator’s glues and near one hundred yards of molded pig intestine, the sculpture is all surface. The surface is all hide. The glues, conventionally used in conservation for their imperceptibility, are physically and metaphorically salient. They are loop; They structure, protect, and prolong themselves.
The figure is a compound subject. I cast my body along with the bodies of several others and blended the various features together creating a figurative chimera. I chose these different parts to have several people represented within one figure. The figure draws from my contact with all of them and portrays a subject birthed not from a body but from a mind.
This subject’s medium is memory. Memory in the way we picture loved ones-incommensurate-with certain details so extreme that they claim the whole identity for themselves: a stiffness in the shoulders, a way of resting an arm or holding the neck. Also memory in the material sense: an impression left by one thing on another. First I cast the figure in wax and then I wrap the wax with wet pig intestines. When the casings dry they retain a memory of the underlying structure. To get further detail, such as wrinkles, scars, pores, or veins, I use one of the plant, animal, or chemical glues depending on the effect I am trying to create.
I don’t come from a family of sculptors, I come from a family of jewelers. Maybe this is why I find it so necessary to transform materials, to make glue and intestines look like marble. More often than art museums, natural history museums inspire me. Projecting into glass vitrines I implicate myself in artifacts. I put a stone bowl around my shoulder. I reel in monkfish with an astrolabe. Imagining the tenets of a strange logic I become a fool. I loose all sense of context. I gain a strange and unreliable freedom.
In Camera Lucida Roland Barthes observes that we do not look like ourselves in photographs because the selves we identify with are in the mirror. The mirror reflects an image of us looking at, recognizing ourselves. The semblance we associate with is always self conscious.
If I find myself drawn to an early 19th century Yuit sewn intestine raincoat, then it finds meaning because of me as much as vice versa. So, to be clear I am not interested in the mythical Narcissus but the aquatic one. I am interested in the semblance that looks back, the one for whom reflection is the only form of communication.
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