A Terrible Beauty (1994)

A Terrible Beauty: the Human Heart

Paper sculpture is a medium I turn to for more lyrical metaphors of human existence. For me, the heart is the place to start any exploration of the human condition: hearts of patchwork lives, hearts pierced and misshapen, delicate hearts and hearts jewelled and encrusted with life’s experiences – in all of them a terrible beauty that comes from the human capacity to rise above adversity.

Like a healer creating a potion or an elixir I often add powerful, secret elements to my paper pulp. The words of a particular poem may become part of the fibre for one heart. The petals of a special rose may enter another. The hearts in the series called, “The Patchwork Heart of a Woman’s Life” have all been made from entertainment pages in Saturday editions of the Toronto Star. The newspaper and the pages in it were both conscious selections.

Technically, I like to push paper to its limits. Like the human heart, paper can be simultaneously fragile and resilient. By embroidering paper hearts and torturing them with wire I hope to show this very human paradox.

Harbinger Gallery, Waterloo 1994

Beauty in Decay

Photographs shown in 1993 at The Forge Gallery, Terra Cotta, Ontario as well as the Insights, juried exhibition, Wellington County Museum, 1989