Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

“the metaphysics of metamorphosing”


I have had this stone in my studio for a number of years and have always liked the way it leaned to one side when it balanced on the heavy end. I would look at this piece of stone off and on, when I was going through the stones on hand for the next piece.

After studying the stone for a couple of days, I found that I was thinking of the idea of shamanism and the act of transformation, which is something that I have always been very interested in. For me, the power of the shaman and his ability to transform between man and creature(s) has always fascinated me - and over the past number of years, I have tried to create the occasional piece which can visually represent an imagined form or idea from my own understanding.

The man in the piece is demonstrating his ability to transform, not just into one creature, but into a couple of creatures at the same time. In this case, he is becoming both a walrus - his hands are starting to turn into flippers, with the top of the flipper on his back and half of his face -, and a fish - with his lower left side that shows the scales. All at the same time keeping his human side exposed.

The title comes from mulling over titles in my head. Here are a couple of more that I had come up with:
- ” leaning towards shamanism” ( a play on the leaning of the stone )
- ” the shaman is shape shifting ” ( too close to a title from a previous piece - shape-shifting shaman )
- ” an inconceivable feat by many “, ( this one was pretty close to becoming the title because of the disbelief by many on shamanism )

But in the end, I decided to go with a title ” the metaphysics of metamorphosing ” because, as my old dictionary says, and I quote: - metaphysics: a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature and the meaning of existence and invest agents such aspects of reality as the fundamental unity underlying all particular things, their nature and form, and their relationship. - metamorphosing: to undergo or cause to undergo metamorphosis or metamorphism.

I thought that it worked with the piece and it’s almost a tongue-twister at the same time!!

—Michael Massie

Other available artwork you might like in Sculpture:

Michael Massie

Michael Massie


Inuit, Métis

Happy Valley - Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

(1962- )

Massie’s work is a reflection of his mixed Inuit, Métis and Scottish heritage. In it, he investigates both traditional and contemporary themes. He has achieved renown for his innovative teapots that combine themes and symbols from his native Inuit culture with European traditions. Massie has been twice short-listed for the coveted Prix Saidye Bronfman and has an extensive international reputation. His work has been shown in North America and Europe, including the National Gallery of Canada. He was elected a member of Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 2011.