2019 22”h, 16” w watercolour and collage
This watercolour and collage is part of my series based on a Renaissance Cabinet of Curiosities, titled Compensation for Loss; a term borrowed from the museum world, related to the conservation of artifacts. Cabinets of Curiosity were the precursors to the museum, where wealthy collectors used their relics to advance the study of the natural world and to impress visitors with their erudition.
My project comments upon both historic and contemporary scientific inquiry into biological and mineral realms to re-imagine the Cabinet of Curiosities for our world. I look to the past to interpret the present and envision the future.
The collage depicts a cracked turtle shell repaired with Delft tiles decorated with images of a turtle and a tortoise. One can imagine that there are no natural turtle shells to use as the repair for a damaged specimen and conservators have to come up with an alternative to compensate for missing pieces.
The Delft tiles symbolize the Age of Exploration and specifically Dutch dominance of trade routes which aided noblemen’s quest for natural world attractions for their Wunderkammers (another term for a curio gallery).