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Cycas revoluta bulbil
Keith Edmier locates the intersection of the personal and the public to create works that mine our shared memory and history. Beverly Edmier (a Madonna-like image of the artist's mother, dressed as Jackie Kennedy, with the artist visible in embryo), and Farrah Fawcett (a marble sculpture of the actress) draw upon classical formalism and popular culture. Edmier's meditations on natural forms entangled with human interactions and interpretations have led to works such as Victoria Regia (Second Night
Bloom) and Victoria Regia (First Night Bloom), delicate water lilies rendered very large scale in dental resin. His early experience as a fabricator of orthodontic appliances and later as a prosthetic special
effects artist for Hollywood movies informs his exploration of new materials as well as his imagery.
Adonais is a new sculpture from a body of work titled The Modern Man-Demon, inspired by Mary Shelly’s classic work of literature Frankenstein, as well as the 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia that would set off global climatic aberrations the following year.
Adonais takes its title from an 1821 poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley, who drowned in the Gulf of Spezia in 1822. He was cremated by his friends whereupon his heart was snatched from the funeral pyre by the explorer Edward Trelawney and given to the poet Leigh Hunt (Norman, 1955; Time, 1933). Shelley’s heart was given to Mary Shelley who treasured the organ between the pages of Adonais until she died herself. The heart, which by then had crumbled to dust, was finally buried with the remains of Shelley’s and Mary’s son, Sir Percy Florence Shelley, in 1889. Adonais takes it form from the ancient tradition of heart burial. Common in the Middle Ages in Europe and initially a strictly religious rite, it later became associated with a sentimental, aristocratic, or family tradition.
Two human hearts, that of the artist and a female archeologist are cast in basalt stone using data derived from MRI scans made on the University of South Florida campus. One heart is captured in a contracted state while the other in a state of expansion. Together they form a portrait of a single heartbeat. The hearts rest in a case, cast in lead, with a cast-silver lining—materials traditionally associated with heart burial. The case is inspired by the “double heart urn” of the Emperor Karl VII and his wife Maria Amalie in the Chapel of the Miraculous Image in Altötting, Bavaria, created by the sculptor Johann Baptist Straub.
To make Cycas revoluae bulbil, Keith Edmier developed new techniques for
pouring molten lava in collaboration with Graphicstudio's fabricators and University geologists. Basalt, the solid form of lava, was crushed, heated to the melting point, and poured around the form of a cycad plant, leaving a cavity with an impression of the cycad. A urethane resin cast of a cycad
plant was hand painted and attached to the lava form. Edmier has been interested in making sculpture with molten rock from the earth's core for several years. In Hawaii he investigated the phenomenon of lava tree molds, created when molten lava engulfs a live, wet tree, leaving a negative cavity
or impression. The cycad is an ancient plant that has survived with few changes for millions of years. Although there are male and female cycads, the plant can reproduce asexually, by generating pups of the same sex as the parent. His plant sculptures address aspects of sexuality -- the male and
female functions of reproduction, renewal and rebirth.
Keith Edmier & Farrah Fawcett: Recasting Pygmalion A collaborative Art Project (Essay by Lynn Zelevansky)
The book can be puchased at the CAM's Museum Store.
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