Odes to Anatomies

Wendy Trusler

A Space Windows

September 10 – October 16, 2004

My work is rooted in autobiography and weighted in themes of memory and mortality. I am fascinated by different methods of coding memory, the role language plays in coding, and the ways stories, recollections and histories are woven into the everyday and organized into history. I use a wide array of materials to code memory creating a personal archaeology that considers the relation of artifact to artwork, and that addresses the stories occupying the spaces in between.

My practice includes and often combines mixed-media painting, sculpture and installation. Collecting, sorting and filing are central to my process of coding memory and to the development of each work made in relation to an installation. I have no preferred material though I do tend to gravitate to relics for reasons that are partly aesthetic, partly ecological. Found objects and photographs, natural matter and industrial discards are reclaimed and integrated into my work as grounds, souvenirs, artifacts. Like old souls, rusty, decrepit remnants, weather-beaten rocks and animal bones seem fitting, willing storytellers.

My use of wax, both as a vehicle for pigment and on its own, is symbolic as a sealant or preserver. As well, I’m drawn to the inherent fragility it evokes. Layering, scraping, carving and burning are among the ways I inscribe and explore memory and the organizing of histories. Related themes of mourning and celebration, loss and renewal are embodied in the surrounds I create for memory to occupy

Inspired by insights into the body as an organ of memory the series of altered anatomy texts that make up Odes to Anatomies depict individuals’ medical histories. A diabetic, a stroke survivor, a cancer victim – each ode endeavours to address memory lost and the ways in which our bodies accommodate, ‘rewire’ and rejuvenate.