As always, half the battle of making art is coming up with a new idea. This piece, filling in for Venus, was one of those challenges. Spending a few days in the studio looking at stones and going through all my art history books helped to conjure up this idea. I came across the painting by Sandro Botticelli, The Birth of Venus (1480) and I began thinking of the sea-goddess, Sedna, and how she has played such a huge role in Inuit history… and I decided to replace Venus with Sedna (but keeping the scallop shell).
Because I have been focusing on the addition of metals to my work in stone over the past number of months, I decided to make the scallop shell from brass, as I was looking for the thickness and the contrast. The brass as it was had a shine and a glare that I found a bit distracting to the piece as a whole, so I etched the surface to make it visually softer.
I arranged the Sedna so it appears as if she is just floating into place — not an aggressive move — but one of ease and comfort.
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.
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