Bone Sentence and Cedar Strip

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A new exhibition opens in The Bookcase, 12-4, November 4.

IMG_6044Bone Sentence

Patrick Mahon

found bone, glass, two 3-d plastic prints


This work-in-progress places a bleached caribou rib found while walking on the land in Nunavut alongside one of a group of glass ‘bones’ that Mahon made for the exhibition, “Cold Storage,” (2007-09), and also includes two newly generated 3-D print facsimiles. Mahon’s interest in setting up this linear material ‘progression’ is an attempt to make an allegory; placing what Andrew Hunter refers to as “a fragile reminder of an early form of Northern waste” together with two objects invoking apparent material cultural advancement, while setting a curiously timeless variation on a bone-like form in the centre of the string.[i]

In some promotional materials for the forthcoming volume, Shipwreck Modernity, Mahon’s recent collaborator, author Steve Mentz is said to “reveal the surprisingly modern truths to be found in some early stories of ecological collapse.” The impulse to read events and objects, even detritus, from the historical past as simultaneously predictive and fantastical is the intention.

Cedar Strip

Coral Rose Carson

found boat, cedar


Cedar strip boats are used at fishing lodges in Northern Ontario, including the Esnagami Lodge where Carson worked in the summer of 2015. At the end of the summer, the boats are burned in an annual bonfire, to prevent possible leaks and make room for new boats that will arrive the next season. Carson writes, “These cedar strips were more than firewood to me, they represent so much more than pieces of wood.” She was able to rescue a single large piece, which she transported on a twenty-seven hour journey that included a Cessna floatplane, a car, an overnight train and the commuter train to Oshawa. The cedar strip now sits in The Bookcase evoking the shipwreck modernity found Mahon’s “Bone Sentence,” a reminder of summer, the north, and the passing of time.

[i] Andrew Hunter. “Ideas of North”, in Patrick Mahon: Cold Storage, Render (University of Waterloo Art Gallery), 2007, p. 27.



The Author

Kirsty Robertson is an Associate Professor of contemporary art and museum studies at the University of Western Ontario.

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