Outside, a dark, cast-bronze figure of a child sits on top of the tipi-style building, weaving a maypole—simultaneously inviting and menacing. Inside, Boyle has transformed the space into a darkened cave, its walls covered in gems reminiscent of constellations, its floor soft. Two small porcelain sculptures—spotlit and unprotected—rotate on vintage record players. Each carries a large orb, one in a net upon its back and the other on its stomach, as the figure contorts into a bridge pose. One encounters the projection of an old woman overhead, whose fingers sign without subtitles—a language for the initiated. At first it may seem like a warning, but she is a guide, signing the intention of the exhibit: for those who are silenced; for those never born; for the ugly; for those who can’t run fast; for that which we see in our dreams; and for the deepest parts of the sea, where we go when we orgasm. It is a dedication to half-hidden intuitions, to the knowledge layered upon words. Deeper in, a large sculpture of a crone/maiden reclines in a cave. Suckling a baby, her wizened face regards the viewer, one leg twisting like the interior of a shell. The light changes every few seconds: front lit and pure white, back lit in blue, and then a noise of images that covers the cave walls in a bright organic collage.
Shary Boyle, The Cave Painter, 2013.
Plaster, wood, foam, synthetic hair, sculpting epoxy, metal, acrylic, glitter, glass, 3 overhead projectors on custom sculpted plinth, photo-collage projection acetates, timer sequencer. 301 x 427 x 457 cm, detail, Canadian Pavilion Venice Biennale.