ravenskull: contemplation of a possible take-off P. Roch Smith

7.25 × 21.25 × 5.5 inches
18.42 × 53.98 × 13.97 cm

An action figure with a toy raven's skull as a head is cast in bronze. The enigmatic figure teeters on its heels, perched like a bird on a short bronze branch. In this work, the artist draws on the themes of darkness, intelligence and mystery often associated with the raven. Intersecting these with the idea of childhood toys lends humour but also an edge to the notion of play. Smith received a BFA (Honours Sculpture) from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in 1997 and an MFA from York University in 2003. A teacher as well as an artist, he has taught classes at the University of Waterloo, ECIAD and York University. He currently manages and operates the bronze and aluminum foundry at York University. Smith has exhibited throughout Canada and in the US and his work is included in private, corporate and museum collections in British Columbia, Toronto, Los Angeles and New York. "I believe that play and creativity have a fundamental relationship. Playing with materials, forms, scale, texts, objects and toys are the threads that I work with in the studio in attempting to weave new forms. My sculptural work explores the intersection of memory and loss, the domestic space, identity and collecting…The concept of play is relevant to my concerns, notably the idea that creative solutions might be found within a sense of play - of the possibilities that play offers. In the creative act, it is often beneficial to undertake "serious play" as a means of generating solutions and objects. Using toys as a foundation material is a natural fit that I have gravitated toward as a means of speaking to my concerns. Toys have always fascinated me - how they function and how their meanings can be 'read'. For such simple objects toys inhabit a complex space - a space that might not be exclusive to issues of socialization, aggression, domesticity, violence, gender and cooperation." P. Roch Smith

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