Seeds of Life: The Bone Art of Bruce Mahalski
`Seeds of Life - the Bone Art of Bruce Mahalski' is a new book by scientist and artist, Craig Hilton. Both Mahalski and Hilton are interested in the ethical and philosophical implications of using biological material (living and non-living) in art to critique what they see as out... read full description below.
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||1 July 2018 by Rim Books
||Paperback, Illustrated edition
||By Hilton, Craig
By Mahalski, Bruce
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||The Arts: General & Reference
Description of this Book
'Seeds of Life - the Bone Art of Bruce Mahalski' is a new book by scientist and artist, Craig Hilton. It realises the symbiotic potential of art-science collaborations with an unrelenting intensity. Both Mahalski and Hilton are interested in the ethical and philosophical implications of using biological material (living and non-living) in art to critique what they see as outdated and 'species-dangerous' social norms. The ethics of collecting biological material and making art with it are also discussed. The book's title refers to the Ancient Aztec's belief that their gods used human bones as seeds to grow new ones and Mahalski's firmly held opinion that bones are not symbol's of death but beautiful and enduring reminders of life. This sixty-four page book is illustrated by photos of Mahalski's work by many noted NZ photographers including Michael Hall, James Gilberd and Andrew Ross.
New Zealand multi-media artist Bruce Mahalski has had solo and group exhibitions of his art work in a range of media including screen-printing, photography, painting and sculpture since 1996. In 2005 he made the first bone sculpture as a protest against the Iraqi War and by 2010 he had begun to specialise in his trademark textural bone sculptures.
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||The sight of bones may remind us of death, but Dunedin born artist Bruce Mahalski sees life instead. Over the past decade, Mahalski has experimented with what he likes to call-textural bone sculpture. Inspired by museum exhibitions, particularly old Victorian era displays, Mahalski arranges the remains of animals including rabbits, possums and chickens to create striking pieces. But what sets Mahalski apart is how he also dares to work with human bones and skulls. Protecting the dignity of the dead is vital to Mahalski and in his eyes this starts with treating every species as equal. So by incorporating human skeletons alongside animals, he places humans back in their rightful place in nature. We're not the pinnacle of evolution. We're just another pest pretending to be God, says Mahalski. But Mahalski was a collector long before he became an artist. As a child he found himself filling up chocolate boxes with shells, bones, insects and his favourite of all, crabs. He blames his parents for his addiction to collecting. His father, a medical specialist, and mother, a teacher of psychology, both had their own collections of precious biological ephemera. The notion of a collector as an artist thrills Mahalski. Despite his artistic talent, he insists collecting is his real passion. He's just lucky to have found a way of justifying and expressing it.
Craig Hilton is a New Zealand artist. After completion of a PhD in genetics and biochemistry at the University of Otago in New Zealand, he took a position at Harvard Medical School and then later at the University of Massachusetts as an oncologist and immunologist. Later he obtained an MFA at the Elam School of Fine Arts. Hilton's art and writing explore the intersections and interactions between science and art, technology and biology, using whatever media necessary. He is particularly interested in art-science collaborations that offer genuine value to and outputs for both the arts and sciences; how art might contribute to dialogue regarding science, molecular biology, biological discovery, and biotechnology; and the cultural implications of these revolutionising technologies. New Zealand multi-media artist Bruce Mahalski has had solo and group exhibitions of his artwork in a range of media including screen-printing, photography, painting and sculpture since 1996. In 2005 he made the first bone sculpture as a protest against the Iraqi War and by 2010 he had begun to specialise in his trademark textural bone sculptures.