A Portrait of My Father
I was drawn instinctively to the saw as a representation of Dad. Firstly, I chose the saw because I have so many strong memories of him with his saw—usually in the most unsafe way—balancing on something precarious, cutting above his head often on cross-country skis clearing trails. Really I'm lucky to have a father at all! But more than this personal history of traipsing around in the woods with my Dad, I wanted to explore more complex ideas surrounding masculinity. The chainsaw draws on a hyper-masculine concept of a man's role of being the provider, strength and action. However, this North American construct doesn't leave a lot of room for the softer side, the warmth, generosity, talking about emotions, pulling people in rather then pushing them away, all of which is so much a part of my Dad. As the world has simultaneously gotten smaller and larger, it is the side I depend on the most because the contemporary female no longer looks to their males for protection but for support. These attributes are what set him apart from a lot of other males in our society, and especially of his generation. I wanted to make a piece that brought that investigated all the facets of a contemporary man and allowed them to co-exist but where one didn't dominate the other. I wanted the viewer's eye to move between seeing the saw and seeing the pink polka dots but where it is hard to see them both at the same time. Cast in bronze, I've removed its functionality and left a shell or just the idea of the man, creating a monument to the sensitive male, a portrait of my Father.