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Taurus and the Scythe

In an unexpected move Taurus of clay has formed a partnership with the cosmic farmer. Follow the cosmic ghetto scythers as they execute the dance of the scythe; reaping along city fencelines, through parking lots, lush forests and wastelands alike.  Constantly gathering fare for Taurus, new companion and lover and watch the new child emerge!

In this time-based project with clay artist Fenn Martin will explore ideas of animal husbandry though the act of harvesting feed for an imagined domesticated animal –the cow. Traditionally the family cow was a staple to every rural family and referred to affectionately as “the wet nurse of humanity”. The cow was a life-line of food provision possibilities and in turn the farmer was responsible to provide reasonable accommodations and ample feed. Through a time-honoured tradition of scything –the act of collecting grains and feed through hand labour- My cow and I explores an imagined modern-day relationship between man and bovine.

For this project a life sized cow was built on a wooden armature and covered entirely with green clay. Leading up to the night-time performance, with the assistance of a small crew of interested participants the sculpture will come to life with exaggerated and abstracted textures. The impressive sheer mass of 2000lbs of clay will provide a silhouette into a past landscape in an unlikely new location.  The softness of clay will capture the touch of audience people inclined to participate as they are invited to modify or leave their mark on the piece through the duration of the project.


In conjunction with this clay work there will be a performative aspect whereby the artist wonders the nearby area acting out the repetitive and graceful motion of scything. This scythe has a modern twist it is bladeless and is custom outfitted with a neon strips of light to be easily viewed at night. This curious mix of technology will amplify and make visible the slow rhythmic zigzag motion.  The repetitive act of this hand labour evokes a meditative query on the act of “harvest”, our relationships to the land and to animal. Outfitted with a assortment of lighting and a mask made from a cow hipbone, the team of scythers will move around in silence deeply focused on this imagined task of reaping though the night.


The sculpture moved to many locations through parking lots and grassy areas.  Lumiere, Art in the Open and Antigonight 2016.


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The Chevrollac

For the Narc Mine Exhibition

New Glasgow, NS, Spring 2013


Rural Nova Scotia communities are bemused, bewildered and beholden to vehicles, a relationship shaped by economics, globalization, gender, age and class. For the Narc Mine exhibit, I propose to re-imagine the ubiquitous 1997 half-ton Chevrolet truck by adding the fins of a Cadillac.  Mixing the generic lines of the truck, a "utilitarian worker’s vehicle,” with the coveted classy look of the Cadillac fins, I will playfully create a multi-purpose, multi-class work and leisure vehicle.


The Chevrollac, parked on a downtown New Glasgow Street, will be situated at the edge of a community art exhibit yet provides a 24/7 accessible gallery space of its own. Looking in the vehicle windows, the viewer will instantly recognize a sculpted clay figure of local MP and federal cabinet minister, Peter MacKay. Portrayed in a relaxed fashion enjoying his time in The Chevrollac, the viewer perceives MacKay as "hanging out" in this unlikely community context. Contrasting the working-class symbol of the truck with its well travelled inhabitant, The Chevrollac will spark surprise and a deeper examination of rural class structure, masculinity, and power.


The Chevrollac builds upon a functional vehicle sculpture created in 2005, entitled The Folkmobile. My first foray into working with automobiles as a site for social examination, The Folkmobile was a 1991 Buick Century car covered with cedar shingles. It was a logical multi-media project for a moonlighting artist and carpenter. I built a satirical oversize wooden “spoiler” which served both as a functional ladder rack and an exaggerated symbol of contemporary masculinity.


Like The Folkmobile, The Chevrollac challenges and disrupts perceptions and social norms surrounding rural (particularly male) identification with vehicles. The Chevrollac is a catalyst for gendered class conversations in public spaces. Transportation figures prominently in rural lives; trucks serve as symbols of work, and lately more often leisure. Vehicles are a tangible means of navigating geographic and social distances. The Chevrollac engages a physical, vernacular language to challenge how we perceive ourselves and our social status through our vehicles.




Related Links


Riding in the Chevrollac with Peter MacKay (cbc video player 2 mins.)


Speaking with Stephanie Domet of Mainstreet June 3rd 2013


Me My Car and Peter MacKay, by Aaron Beswick, The Chronicle Herald


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