emerging artist: Olivia Rozema

Of Giants Olivia Rozema MFA Graduating Exhibition
November 12 – 20

Artist Statement
Of Giants
is an exhibition of large scale ceramic sculptures of human body parts.
Based upon a series of preparatory drawings completed at the McMaster
Medical Anatomy Lab, each sculpture represents of an individual piece of
the body. With these sculptures I have peeled away layers of skin and
biological purpose to reveal a formal sculptural object. 

believe we are encouraged to see our bodies as either meat or machine;
these sculptures subvert this point of view to encourage a relationship
with our internal anatomy that is more celebratory than it is medical or
grotesque. Despite their beginnings as human anatomic specimens,
as a result of their scale and surface, these sculptures seem to be the
remnants of a gargantuan pre-historic creature. They have an excess in size that places them outside the realm of human,
but in truth our insides are the strange giants that are seemingly
strewn across the gallery floor. The final frontier is beneath our skin,
and although they often remain unseen, I believe our insides are made
up of a complex network of sculptures that each person carries with them
as they move through their lives.

Emulating the
format of catalogued specimens each sculpture is titled with a number.
These titles are a reference to the organization system of a medical
lab, but also play with mathematics, as the number refers to how tall a
person would be if these fragments were a true part of a body.  For example, the sculpture which represents all the bones in a human left foot is titled 49 10/12.
This means that a person with a giant’s foot of this scale would be
about 49’ 10” tall. These giant-scale human body parts re-mythologize
and monumentalize our hidden and mysterious insides giving viewers the
opportunity and license to imagine their own body parts as complex and
compelling formal objects.

The sculptures embody a type of self-knowledge. Their forms suggest something we feel we should recognize
but cannot place. They have an uncanny resemblance to the real,
however, they are skewed. They are strange human parts made stranger,
with my hand re-creating and re-imagining their forms. These forms,
removed from their natural bodily context and enlarged, reside in the
space between the familiar and the unfamiliar, dramatizing the
disconnect of our relationship between our insides and outsides. I
over-analysed, mimicking the shapes, patterns, and textures that
incited my fascination. I removed these bones, sinew, and organs from
their natural contexts and transformed them through sculpture, so that
my captivation with the shapes of our insides can be shared with the