“I have always viewed the body as a transitory object,” writes the artist Christina Bothwell. From human-animal hybrids to pregnant creatures to fused figures, Bothwell’s oeuvre overrides various forms of life in the flow of the river: a baby rests precariously on a mother’s back, a young girl grasps the legs of another, and others look in the distance as if it I am going to move forward.
The artist’s theme is rooted in the ethereal and embodies the delicate way that spirits and physical figures change over time. However, your process reflects the focus on transformation. From her studio in rural Pennsylvania, Bothwell starts each multimedia piece with a sketch before translating her head into clay. To create the weathered appearance, she uses pit fire, in which the sculpture is covered with hay or leaves and burned. The smoke from the fire leaves a carbon residue on the clay.
While working with glass, Bothwell forms warm beeswax, which she uses to pour a plaster of paris silica mold. Then she fills the empty form with colored pieces of glass, which are placed in an oven to glow, cooled in cold water, and finally ground and chiseled. Hand-painted details adorn the exterior of the sculpture, along with found items such as antique prosthetic eyes, deer antlers and ball feet.
The result of this month-long technique is a surreal collection that combines the organic forms and processes of nature with eerie details. Each lackluster piece explores the relationship between the seductive curiosities of the exterior and the translucent insides, which Bothwell explains:
Changing the body just means adjusting the outer shell as far as I can see … I am intrigued by the spirit world, and I imagine we are in and out of it, into the physical realm with bodies and then out of it at the end of life into lighter, energetic bodies … And throughout our entire life we are constantly changing and reinventing who we are every day.
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