Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

“the politics of nature”


As spring approaches, I have been thinking about the growth season coming up. I started thinking about the lilies in the forest and how wonderfully perfect they are — and began to wonder about how one could best represent this.

Sometimes things just don’t turn out the way you wanted… but sometimes what you then have in front of you is better. To make the lilies, I had decided on a “lost-wax” process, which is something I haven’t done since 1991 when I was still a student. It is a great technique and when conditions are perfect, the results are amazing. However, even when things aren’t perfect, the end result can be just as interesting, if not more so.

When using this technique, essentially one is casting the forms — a wax “positive” is shaped, with a wax stem system in place that will deliver the molten metal (burning out the wax along the way) to the positive and thus produce the cast forms. The forms are surrounded by a plaster mix that keeps the shape and prevents the molten metal from going everywhere. Temperature, timing, proper equipment, are all issues — as are materials used (e.g. the pink silver is a silver/copper alloy technique called Shibuichi, whereas the coppery-coloured ones are a copper/gold alloy called Shakudo). As I hadn’t done this in some time, perhaps my lilies weren’t as perfect as I had originally imagined. But as I looked at them, I began to see something more in the incompleteness of several of the forms… and this is where the bugs came in!

I searched the internet for types of bugs that eat lilies — and this is it: the lilioceris lilii (or Scarlet Lily Beetle), which lays it’s eggs on the lily, which then becomes the primary food source for the young beetle as it moves through the various stages of a bug’s life: the pupa, larva and the adult. Knowing all this, it now makes more sense as to why the lilies look the way they do… and why mine look the way they do!

The adult was placed there because she is admiring the work she has just done.

—Michael Massie

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.