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The Ship of Theseus

a thought experiment

In The Ship of Theseus, I use multiple forms of wood and wax to explore how our identities can be challenged by physical changes to our bodies.

The focus of my sculpture has been investigating how our psyche and even our physical body is shaped by experiences, thoughts, beliefs, memories and myths we have about ourselves. I represent those influences by building up written words and images, via papier mache, and then digging back into it to reveal the persona I am creating.

In this new body of work, I consider how much of ourselves remains true as the decades pass by. It is well understood that we do not look the same physically as we age, as we get fit, are injured, heal, consume chemicals or as we devote ourselves to a healthy lifestyle. But science tells us that much of our body is in a constant state of renewal via cell death and replacement. As our body is refreshed, so to speak, are we truly the same person? As the parts of our physical selves are replaced, how does this effect our inner self?

In my current works, I am even more relentless than usual in “reusing” materials. While my sculpture has always been created with repurposed materials, I have paid special attention to putting removed paper and encaustic wax back into the same piece, or another, in this body of work.

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