Sunday, 4 September 2016

'Singing bones', cobalt paintings on bone china fossils

Ann-Marie Tully, Singing Bones: Thomas Shelby. Bone china. 40mm (H) x 80mm (L) 
60mm (W)

Ann-Marie Tully, Singing Bones: Polly Shelby. Bone china. 60mm (H) x 80mm (L) x 55mm (W)

Ann-Marie Tully, Singing Bones: Lieutenant-Colonel William Nutt. Bone china. 95mm (H)
 x 150mm (L) x 70mm (W)

Ann-Marie Tully, Singing Bones: Rommel. Bone china. 50mm (H) x 120mm (L) x 70mm (W).

The Singing bones series of works are literally fossils, produced through dipping and coating found and collected animal skulls and bones in a customised porcelain (china) slurry. The coated skulls then go through a process of firing that ‘releases’ the bone remains, leaving behind the ‘porcelain jacket’, and some residual bone matter: rendering the pieces as bone china. The title 'Singing bones' is a reference to the life stories that bones bear witness to. Further to these animal stories, I add a palimpsestual layer of populist, historical, and mythical human narratives. The characters painted onto the skulls tend to suit the type of skull, for example pairing a raptor skull with a soldier, and small-time gangster’s face with a small herbivore skull. The subjects tend to be compromised and complex anti-heroes, whose circumstances shaped their existence, much like the bones. Bones are elements of divination in many shamanic cultures, telling stories. These bones tell (sing) multiple stories: that of the animals that once ‘clothed’ and inhabited them, the human stories they have become surrogates for, and the ineffable fate of all who view them.

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